PAETEC is a leading telecommunications company that provides a comprehensive suite of data, voice, and IP services, as well as enterprise communications management software, network security solutions, CPE, and managed services. PAETEC personalizes communications for business-class customers across the United States. A major Internet and communications success story, 12-year-old PAETEC recently joined the Fortune 1000.
PAETEC innovates managed security services
One of PAETEC’s most novel and rapidly growing services is managed security, which takes advantage of cloud computing technology to provide customers with powerful network protection without the expense and effort required to purchase, install, operate, and maintain their own security infrastructure. “Customers want network security that is entirely their own, is provided by an organization they trust, and is not a burden for their IT staffs,” explains Dave Wilson, manager of data security for PAETEC. “That is exactly what we provide with our managed security offerings. They fit especially well for customers of our ISP service that have already come to know and trust us, as the next logical step in fortifying their Internet infrastructure in an integrated way.”
PAETEC’s first foray into managed services was its Network Firewall service, which reduces the vulnerability of customers’ networks and protects their data from hackers and other external threats. Launched in 2008, Network Firewall gained instant popularity and became the company’s fastest growing area of business the following year.
Innate multi-tenancy differentiates McAfee
Following the success of its Network Firewall services PAETEC began considering other cloud-based managed security offerings that would build upon the protection it offers and provide the enhanced security levels customers demanded. Intrusion prevention, the firm determined, was the natural next step since many Network Firewall customers were asking for it. PAETEC performed an extensive evaluation of top intrusion prevention solutions, including the systems they had been using internally. Quickly they discovered that, among other critical requirements, the intrusion prevention system must include multi-tenancy. To power PAETEC’s new service, the appliances absolutely had to be able to smoothly and efficiently interleave the network traffic of multiple customers concurrently, which is the essence of multi-tenancy.
PAETEC found that only one intrusion prevention system delivered multi-tenancy with sufficient functionality to satisfy its needs—McAfee. “PAETEC and McAfee share a common vision and a common appreciation of multi-tenancy,” Wilson comments. “Not only does the McAfee Network Security Platform possess this capability innately, but it also has the scalability necessary to go with it. That means an array of McAfee appliances can serve multiple customers at the same time and can smoothly grow to serve as many customers as we can sign up, without ceilings.” McAfee Network Security Platform proved to be exactly the product PAETEC was seeking as the basis for extending its managed services.
"PAETEC and McAfee share a common vision and a common appreciation of multi-tenancy. Not only does the McAfee Network Security Platform possess this capability innately, but it also has the scalability necessary to go with it."Dave Wilson
Manager of Data Security, PAETEC
Customers gain Network Security Platform’s benefits but none of the infrastructure management requirements
In March of 2010, PAETEC launched its IDPS (Intrusion Detection and Prevention System) service, based on the M-4050 model from the McAfee Network Security Platform product line. Just two months later the company had already deployed 16 of the appliances.
Customers use PAETEC’s IDPS service for protecting Internet-bound traffic. The array of Network Security Platform devices acts as an additional site on a customer’s network, one through which all Internet traffic is routed and checked for intrusions, after firewalling. Since the appliances reside in PAETEC’s infrastructure and not the customer’s, however, the customer derives all their benefits but none of the management responsibilities.
Meanwhile, PAETEC benefits from the ease of deployment and manageability offered by McAfee’s Network Security Platform. PAETEC uses McAfee’s out-of-the-box settings for drawing the line between detection and blocking and allows customers a degree of flexibility in adjusting it. “Most customers are happy with the default setting,” states Wilson. “They do not want false positives and with the default setting they avoid them.”
McAfee best practices optimize protection, performance, and reliability
McAfee SaaS Web Protection scans all Ademino & Associates Web traffic for malicious content. This protects the company, improves the performance of its computers, and enables Morschauser to spend his time more strategically.
In deploying the Network Security Platforms, PAETEC closely followed McAfee’s recommendations and best practices, thereby optimizing performance while still providing the signatures customers need for protection. “We have not seen any negative performance impact resulting from the features we turned on,” reports Wilson. “We have not had to face a tradeoff between protection levels and throughput, and the devices have been rock solid.”
Artemis technology provides extra protection
PAETEC is delivering even more value to customers by taking advantage of the Artemis file reputation service, a recent McAfee innovation that is a natural fit because it, too, is cloud based. Artemis fills the gap between installations of new sets of threat signatures with real-time, “always-on,” behaviorbased protection that is based on threat intelligence gathered from the user community at large. “Customers love it when we explain the extra level of protection that Artemis technology gives them,” says Wilson. “They know all too well how much time can elapse between the identification of a threat and the installation of signatures to deal with it. Artemis allays those concerns.”
Beta customers report early threat protection
IDPS went through a round of beta testing prior to general availability and immediately began providing value. The infamous Aurora threat struck during that time and the beta customers were pleased that they were protected before most other companies were. The Aurora incident was followed closely by a Microsoft Exchange Server vulnerability event that the service also blocked. “Over and over we had customers tell us how happy they were that we were protecting their networks so well,” says Wilson.
Managed services sales zoom with Network Security Platform on board
In just the first two months after the release of IDPS, it has been embraced by many PAETEC customers and has become a major factor in the company’s continuing strong revenue stream. “For the second straight year, managed services comprise our fastest growing area of business,” reports Wilson.
“There is no doubt that our McAfee-based intrusion protection service is a major contributor. We offer IDPS as an option to customers who use Network Firewall, but it makes so much sense to combine them that most customers do,” Wilson adds. “It also just makes sense for existing Network Firewall customers to add the IDPS service, and so we are seeing a lot of that as well.”
“One of the reasons IDPS is selling so well is that we are quick to tell prospects who ask that it is McAfee technology delivering our service,” says Wilson. “Customers know and trust McAfee.”
The future is bright for the PAETEC-McAfee partnership
PAETEC and McAfee consider themselves partners in bringing the latest in security technology to customers on a service basis. “We are fortunate that McAfee had the foresight to build multitenancy into its products,” concludes Wilson. “That is one of the reasons why McAfee is at the cutting edge for companies like PAETEC that provide security as a service. Due to the innovations both of us have made, we are able to offer unique and important services that customers are testifying to with their wallets. Our competitors are still trying to figure out how we do it.”
McAfee knows how to do multi-tenancy right, and PAETEC knows how to turn it into services that provide value. There is much more to come from the partnership.
About McAfee, Inc.
McAfee, Inc., headquartered in Santa Clara, California, is the world’s largest dedicated security technology company. McAfee is committed to relentlessly tackling the world’s toughest security challenges. The company delivers proactive and proven solutions and services that help secure systems and networks around the world, allowing users to safely connect to the Internet, browse and shop the web more securely. Backed by an award-winning research team, McAfee creates innovative products that empower home users, businesses, the public sector and service providers by enabling them to prove compliance with regulations, protect data, prevent disruptions, identify vulnerabilities, and continuously monitor and improve their security.
PAETEC, a FORTUNE 1000 company, is personalizing business communications for medium and large businesses, enterprise organizations and institutions across the United States. PAETEC offers a comprehensive suite of IP, voice, data, and Internet services, as well as enterprise communications management software, network security solutions, CPE, and managed services.