Managed services evolve

* Service providers expand what they manage in their services

Managed services for voice and data are nothing new. For example, all Tier 1 carriers have long offered a managed “voice VPN,” and the last five years have seen increased uptake on managed frame relay services and managed router services. But now service providers are expanding their managed services beyond the network layer into applications for both wireline and wireless environments.

For example, AT&T offers managed data services for enterprise customers hosted in AT&T’s Internet Data Centers. Having invested more than $250 million in its integrated Global Enterprise Management System, AT&T can offer end-to-end, predictive and proactive monitoring and management of networks, servers and applications.

Managed security is also a hot item for service providers. As we have recently pointed out, security is now the number one concern for those enterprises deploying voice. A managed security service can, for example, stop denial-of-service attacks or prevent spam from getting to corporate e-mail servers by taking security precautions in the service provider’s core.

Network core-based security - especially when coordinated with premises-based security systems - can improve security levels and reduce enterprise costs. Players like AT&T, SBC, and Sprint are moving at full steam to capture market share from security-specific niche players.

One area where we haven’t seen much traction among incumbent wireline service providers is in actually managing enterprise back-office applications like sales force automation or ERP. However, next time we’ll talk about how wireless providers are changing this limitation and are using their experience to help their wireline colleagues.

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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