Gartner dubs two Networx vendors security leaders

AT&T and Verizon Business earn spots at the top of Gartner's rankings of managed services providers.

AT&T Inc. and Verizon Business — both holders of the General Services Administration's Networx Universal and Enterprise telecommunications contracts — were named leaders in Gartner’s recent evaluation of 22 managed security services providers in North America.

It’s a substantial slice of business in which to take the lead: “In 2009, MSSPs in North America generated revenue of $1.8 billion, representing growth of 24 percent over 2008, while the number of firewalls and intrusion detection and prevention (IDP) devices under monitoring/management grew more than 20 percent,” Gartner said in its managed security service providers Magic Quadrant report.

For 2010, driven by staffing and budget constraints, evolving compliance reporting requirements, expansion of Internet connection points, and growing experience with remote services for IT, the market will rise to $2.3 billion, the IT consulting firm said in the MSSP report.

Verizon won kudos for its full suite of managed security services, “including denial-of-service protection and compliance services, as well as a strong consulting practice,” Gartner said. “Verizon has leveraged its position as a major telecommunications provider to augment [managed security services] with services based in the network cloud, as well as services supported by its core network management and monitoring activities,” the report states.

The telecom company also won “high marks from Gartner customers for service delivery and security expertise,” it said.

“Enterprises looking for an established service provider capable of delivering a broad range of security services in multiple regions should consider Verizon Business,” Gartner said.

Its only caution for Verizon was in advising the telecom to balance its packaging and pricing to include both large and midsize customers.

“AT&T continues to leverage the capabilities of a global network provider in its [managed security services] development and delivery, and maintains delivery leadership in security controls as a service,” Gartner said.

Additionally, AT&T’s already substantial managed security services portfolio got a further boost in compliance-oriented offerings through its acquisition in late 2009 of VeriSign's consulting group.

The company’s portal came in for criticism, however. It “lacks features for asset reporting, log browsing and SLA reporting capabilities that are found among some competitors' offerings,” the report states.

Sharing the leader quadrant with AT&T and Verizon are SecureWorks Inc. and Symantec Inc.

Networx Enterprise contract holder Sprint was dropped from Gartner’s managed security service providers magic quadrant. The company offers managed security services to its telecom customers, Gartner said. It partners with CompuCom Inc. for customer premises equipment-based MSSs.