AT&T project Astra awarded “Best Project” at ISE Northeast Conference

A team from AT&T’s Chief Security Office (CSO) was recognized by T.E.N., a national technology and security networking firm, during the ISE® Northeast Executive Forum and Awards on October 8 at the Westin Times Square in New York. Specifically, the team, which works day in and day out to virtualize security to help protect AT&T’s network, received an award for the “best project” in the information security industry.

The project, called Astra, is an innovative, cloud-based platform that helps protect all internal applications within the AT&T cloud environment. As AT&T moves more and more technology to the cloud, and the threat landscape continues to evolve, AT&T has developed a new and innovative security approach.

Within AT&T, Dan Solero is the Executive Director supporting Project Astra. He, along with Michelle Barry, Anthony Ramos, and Rodney Dilts, have created a foundational project team steeped in the critical skill sets required to make this pivot into the virtualized security environment.

This environment helps to solve three main security concerns:

  1. A perimeter approach is no longer sufficient in today’s security landscape
  2. AT&T required a new security solution as it shifted applications to cloud-based resources
  3. There is a need for simplified ways to deploy new and improved vendor solutions more rapidly

To tackle these issues, the Astra ecosystem and framework enables virtual security services to be delivered via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) through automated intelligent provisioning. As a result, security updates can be deployed in near-real time to enhance protections based on the situation at hand.

Virtualized security will also help AT&T improve its ability to scale security during an attack or high-traffic time frame to help keep things running without disturbing operations. Further, instead of relying on one generalized layer of defense, AT&T can implement security protections for individual applications based on the specific requirements of each application.

Thus far, AT&T has integrated virtualized firewall, intrusion detections services, scanning, threat intelligence, reporting, identity and access management, and inventory management into the platform.

Astra built a foundational platform and framework for the transformation of security technologies into the cloud. It has helped achieve the following goals:

  • De-couple hardware and software components of network security devices to provide security software as a service, built within a distributed (cloud) environment, integrated within the cloud provisioning process.
  • Extend security to the application layer to deploy micro-perimeters within the cloud.
  • Architect an ecosystem to support rapid delivery of cyber security capabilities into our enterprise, infrastructure, and services.
  • Simplify the definition, orchestration, and provisioning of security policies, streamlining the user experience.
  • Provide an open interface to interoperate with multiple vendors.

Project Astra has led AT&T’s transition to the next-generation of security to better meet that fast-changing threat landscape.

Bill O'Hern SVP and Chief Security Officer AT&T About Bill