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Consumer Security: A Big Market?

Junk email, viruses, and worms may be a nuisance to most people but they could spell big business for data center operators -- because a growing number of consumers are prepared to pay for protection from the threats that lurk on the Internet.

Canadian security specialist Zero Knowledge Systems is aiming to tap this market with a managed security service that it plans to launch next week.

The service, called Synbridge, enables consumer ISPs to offer their customers a range of security add-ons, such as firewalls, virus protection, and content filtering. ISPs merely market and bill for the service, which is hosted in Zero Knowledges Montreal data center. The ISPs’ customers load software on their PCs that communicates with the servers hosting the service (to get their anti-virus updates, to block URLs, and so on) using LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol).

The service aims to tap the growing number of consumers willing to pay for protection from the dangers lurking on the Internet. Research from analyst firm Yankee Group
suggests that over 20 percent of consumers are willing to pay up to $10 a month for security services.

Increasingly, ISPs and telecom firms are looking to cash in by offering managed security services to their customers. Earlier this week, for example, South Korean telecom provider Dacom Corp.
announced its new Cyber Attack Defense Network (CADNet), a VPN service designed to protect customers from threats such as viruses and denial-of-service attacks (see Dacom Launches Managed Security).

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