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Cable & Wireless India

Giving infrastructure a helping hand

Cable & Wireless India offers connectivity, managed network, and security services to enterprises so that a company can concentrate on its core business. Here's a close look at the service offerings and features. by Soutiman Das Gupta

Any company in today's marketplace has to depend on communications networks and systems to transmit business information. And sometimes the areas of connectivity, network management, and security are best handled by an outsourced service provider.

Cable & Wireless (C&W) in India provides the above services as a part of its large bouquet of offerings. It operates out of its Head Office in Bangalore, and feels that a company should spend its time and other valuable resources in performing their core businesses, and let the service provider sweat it out at managing certain areas of the infrastructure.

Services Offered

Here are some of the services that the company provides to an enterprise:

  • International Managed Connectivity services
  • Managed Network Services
  • Managed Security Services International connectivity services

Enterprise networking requirements encompass a complex mix of voice communications, data networking, and transaction processing. Today, voice traffic is migrating to IP platforms, and business process applications are migrating from the mainframe to client/server-based environments. Traditional time-division multiplexing (TDM)-based architectures are giving way to virtual private networks based on several protocols that include packet and IP infrastructures.

Enterprise infrastructure requirements also include redundancy and fail-over features to ensure application uptime and availability. The company feels that all these are placing an unprecedented demand on the network infrastructure that goes beyond the need for mere bandwidth. Demanding WAN managers also require complex QoS capabilities.

C&W offers enterprises a range of global managed data services to suit their varying requirements: Managed Private Line, ATM, Frame Relay, IP VPN and International Private Leased Circuit (IPLC). Based on the application requirements in terms of guaranteed bandwidth, delay and availability customers can choose from a variety of offerings within these services.

The connectivity services offered are:

  • ATM
  • Frame Relay
  • IP-VPN QoS
  • Managed Private Line (MPL)

Managed network services

Managed network services offers flexible and modular services that encompass the lifecycle of enterprise networks: design & planning, deployment, and monitoring & management. The managed network services offer flexibility to customers in choosing equipment vendors and service providers that best meet their requirements.

Organizations are offered proactive fault management that identifies bottlenecks in the network infrastructure and pre-empts any potential network outage. Customers are also offered comprehensive reporting capabilities that help in capacity planning, network upgrade, and budget forecasts.

Managed security services

IT managers have the unenviable task of making information available for internal and external use and at the same time securing the organization's resources. The CIO has to have answers to questions like how equipped are you to handle the security needs of your organization? Is your security policy secure enough? Are your firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and other devices monitored on a 24x7 basis?

Managed security services include a comprehensive portfolio of services for managing firewalls, intrusion detection devices, RSA tokens, authentication servers, and VPNs. They also include change management, policy updates, user addition/deletion, and reporting.

Under Managed Security Services, the company offers:

  • Managed firewall service
  • Managed token service
  • Managed intrusion detection and response service
  • Managed caching services

Network management

C&W has made an investment of $3.5 million for setting up a Global Network Management Center at Information Technology Park Limited (ITPL), Bangalore. It has deployed state-of-the-art software for managing customer networks.

Features

This center is manned by personnel with competencies across various network platforms and routing protocols.

  • Connectivity: From C&W Bangalore there are two E1 links to C&W Swindon and Hammersmith, and one Satellite link to Hammersmith. Also a 512K link to C&W Hong Kong. This center carries out global design work for C&W and also manages global and local customers.
  • Management: The center operates on a 24 x 7 basis
  • Security: the center follows BS7799 Industry Security Standards
  • Availability: Management platforms for managed network & security services are based in primary and secondary data centers in Swindon and London. Apart from this there is a DR site in Bangalore for C&W customer operations

Service Features:

  • Network Monitoring
  • Problem Management
  • Network Performance Reporting
  • Network Optimization
  • Configuration Management
  • Change Management
  • Asset Management
  • Vendor Management
  • Network Security Management
  • Capacity Management management & reporting

C&W's managed network service is based on the Virtual Customer Management System (vCMS) architecture and platform for networking components and Managed Security Service (MSS) platform for security components.

The architecture guarantees full Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) capabilities with mirrored server sites. The platform comprises three core functions. They are an event consolidation and root-cause analysis application, an event correlation and real-time event display application, and a performance management and reporting application.

Some of the tools used are:

Netcool: This is a service level management system with enterprise-wide event/fault status exchange. It performs event correlation and root cause analysis.

Smarts InCharge: It is a part of the Netcool product suite. It performs first level correlation of faults in IP networks.

Infovista: This is a performance management tool for monitoring and reporting.

Clarify: his is a global trouble ticketing platform. Trouble tickets will be posted on a secure website for customer review.

Telnet Relay: For secure Telnet access to routers.

NIMS: This is a secure Web-based Asset management tool, specially developed to meet specific customer requirements.

MSS Admin Portal: All administrative access to the MSS management platform and devices is through a Web-based Citrix farm. The operator needs to login to the portal first in order to manage the customer devices/management servers.

ArcSight: Arc Sight is an event correlation engine used for correlating the logs/alarms generated by firewalls and IDSs.

Cisco IDS Manager: This is used to manage Cisco Network Sensors of all customers. Updating and customizing attack signatures are done using the Cisco IDS Manager.

Uniguard DDM Manager: This is used to configure secure out of band access to CPE firewalls via DES modems.

SecureCRT: It is an SSH tool used to access Bastion Host and to access the CPE firewalls directly using DES modems for out of band access.

Siebel: This is a Web-based ticketing tool.

Benefits to enterprises

C&W claims to offer a number of benefits to its customers. It uses skilled technical resources, a resilient and robust network infrastructure, has a global presence, and a number of strategic partnerships. C&W is uniquely positioned to meet the critical business requirements of large enterprises.

Some of the companies that use C&W's services and are successful enterprises like Standard Chartered Bank, Coca Cola, and Xansa.

Soutiman Das Gupta can be reached at soutimand@networkmagazineindia.com

 
     
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