O2 taps Crossbeam for mobile data security

O2 was the first UK cellco to start selling the Apple iPhone in 2008 and, whilst Orange and Vodafone are now selling the smartphone on their networks, O2 says it is still observing a doubling in mobile data usage every four months.

The reason, says the cellco, is that more and people are using their smartphones to surf the mobile internet and access email whilst on the move.

According to Ian Waggott, O2's head of technical security, each time a mobile opens an application like Google Maps, it automatically creates 20 or more IP sessions that need to be protected.

"Crossbeam can easily handle the more than six million sessions operating concurrently on our networks", he said, adding that, as a mobile operator, it important that O2 can ensure the continued protection of its users as network traffic and bandwidth demands grow, without impacting performance.

Infosecurity notes that Crossbeam's X-Series technology can run multiple instances of various vendors' IT security technology, including products from Check Point, Sourcefire and Trend Micro.

The hardware platform consists of a network processor module (NPM), a control processor module (CPM), and the application processor module (APM).

The firm's proprietary X-Series hardened operating system holds the three modules together, which supports what the company calls 'secure flow processing', a technology that sequences data flows from one virtualised instance of a security application to another.

Crossbeam, which has just reached its 10th anniversary, claims that using this approach allows the X-Series platform to virtualise security applications that are dynamically applied to any APM, along with security applications and configuration data.

In this way, the firm says, its technology can easily scale for virtualised clustering and application redundancy, which O2 needs with around 22 million subscribers on its UK network.

Jim Freeze, the Crossbeam's chief marketing officer, said that the growing use of smartphones and other handsets has become an enormous opportunity for cellular carriers.

"Customers like O2 realise that even as they scale their networks to meet the data deluge, they still need to ensure the protection of users", he said.


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