SingTel, FireEye to invest $50M in security centers

Singapore telco and IT security vendor unveil partnership to build security monitoring facilities in Singapore and Sydney, including "data stores" to address data sovereignty concerns.

SingTel and FireEye have announced a new alliance that will see both partners jointly build cybersecurity monitoring facilities in Singapore and Sydney, as well as set up "data stores" for customer data that needs to be contained locally.

The two companies will co-invest up to US$50 million over five years to fund the infrastructure and manpower for two new Advanced Security Operation Centres (ASOCs), said Bill Chang, SingTel's CEO of group enterprise and country chief officer for Singapore, during a teleconference Tuesday with local reporters. He was in Washington, U.S., to launch the partnership with David DeWalt, FireEye's board chairman and CEO.  

To be located in Singapore and Sydney, Australia, the ASOCs will monitor and analyze security threats including advanced persistent threats (APTs), and support FireEye's existing three monitoring facilities in the U.S. and Dublin, Ireland based on a follow-the-sun operational model. They will also access the security vendor's Dynamic Threat Intelligence global database, which provides up-to-date intelligence on the latest cyberattacks, said DeWalt during the teleconference. 

The threat landscape has changed over the last 18 months, he noted, with large-scale cyberattacks launched against major organizations and governments resulting in losses to the tune of billions of dollars. The speed and scale of attacks signal the need for a "different response model", and one that can no longer rely on signature-based detection , he added. 

Chang concurred, pointing to recent breaches including JPMorgan  and Target  in the U.S. as well as Korean banks and Singapore government sites

He said the new ASOCs will be integrated with and housed within SingTel's NOCs (network operations centers) in Singapore, and Sydney via Optus, which is  a SingTel subsidiary . Scheduled to be operational in the first quarter of 2015, the new monitoring facilities will support both SingTel and FireEye customers under a revenue-sharing partnership, he added.

They also mark FireEye's first ASOC in Asia, DeWalt noted, adding that the company will be sending some of its most experienced threat analysts to the two monitoring facilities to help train new staff. Some 150 cybersecurity professionals are expected to be stationed at the new centers. 

Two "data stores" will also be established at the new sites under the new partnership, offering customers of SingTel and FireEye a way to store their data locally to comply with regulations regarding data sovereignty. Asked if there are plans to extend this service to other Asian markets, Chang said the scale would depend on customer demand.