CA turns to Bell Security Solutions to tackle compliance

LAS VEGAS – With a new logo and streamlined product suite, CA – formerly known as Computer Associates — is trying to revamp its image after government investigations, massive restructuring and upper-management reorganization.

Historically CA hasn’t had strong relationships with service providers or partners, and many of its customers have been unclear about what the company actually stands for. CA is trying to change that with its message of unification and simplification in four areas: network management, storage, security and business service optimization. Part of this strategy involves reaching out to new partners, as well as switching its focus from products to solutions.

In Canada, the company is halfway through the process of building a stronger base of partners. “CA had the control thing happening for a number of years,” said Joanne Moretti, general manager and senior vice-president of CA’s Canadian operations in Mississauga, Ont. But the company needs to get more customers, she said, which is where partners come in.

As a result, it’s giving up some of that control. “We are not in the integration business,” she said. “That’s (our partners’) business.”

The Canadian team is “a whole new breed,” she said, adding that she’s looking for reps that are more consultative in nature, rather than aggressive about making deals.

Until recently, Charles Salameh, president of Bell Security Solutions Inc. in Toronto – one of CA’s service provider partners – said he was unclear who CA was and where the company was going. Now that focus is clear: CA is providing the tech piece, while BSSI is providing the integration piece.

Salameh didn’t want a vendor partner that would be “all things to all people,” but rather a partner with a focus on specific technology solutions. BSSI provides network and information security for communications networks to Canadian businesses and governments. It has operations in both Canada and the U.S., and customers include the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta.

BSSI is pushing for the standardization of IP, extending that into the wireless spectrum. Ultimately, it’s moving toward a communications infrastructure that ties the wireless and wired worlds together, he said. BSSI can use Bell’s extensive network to provide complex solutions to the marketplace, said Moretti, including identity and access management. CIOs are overwhelmed with requirements around compliance, risk management and operational efficiencies. And they’re all over the map when it comes to security administration, using a hodge-podge of different vendors and solutions. “You can’t address risk or compliance that way,” she said.

In today’s world, more people know who you are by your digital identity than your physical identity, said Salameh. More content is becoming digitized, and more of that digitized content is becoming mission-critical. “We better damn well secure content,” he said. Bell’s network, which serves nine million customers, is now considered part of Canada’s critical infrastructure. And many of these customers are struggling with regulatory issues and spending piles of money on cyber risk insurance. As more applications are pushed on the network, he said, there’s a need to tie the network to the user through identity management.

One service that BSSI offers is matching digital information to a person, such as facial recognition to a logical print (to track a terrorist in an airport, for example). BSSI needed CA’s technology to automate this “matching” process. Federated identity is where the industry is going, said Salameh. If, for example, both the Government of Canada and Bell says you are who you say you are, this will verify your identity to other Canadian businesses who can’t afford to build systems of their own.

CA World continues in Las Vegas this week.

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Vawn Himmelsbach
Vawn Himmelsbach
Is a Toronto-based journalist and regular contributor to IT World Canada's publications.

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