Verizon Secures Path To The Cloud In More Locations With Secure Cloud Interconnect Expansion

Verizon is helping more customers in more locations reach the cloud securely, this week expanding the footprint of its Secure Cloud Interconnect (SCI) service to new areas in the U.S., Europe and for the first time, Latin America.

SCI is a service based on software-defined networking (SDN) technology designed to let businesses connect to and manage their cloud environments securely. Partners can also manage SCI and sell the service as a value-add to their end customers.

According to Victoria Lonker, director of enterprise networking products for Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Verizon Enterprise Solutions, SCI helps businesses reach cloud applications in far-flung data centers and clouds around the globe, while only paying for the bandwidth they're using, as opposed to paying for a private line with a fixed amount of bandwidth.

[Related: Verizon 2015 Data Breach Report: Phishing Still Dominates]

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SCI now reaches Sao Paulo, Brazil; Frankfurt and Russelsheim, Germany; as well as New York and Los Angeles. Altogether, SCI is available in 30 locations globally, and Verizon has aggressive plans to expand into the Asia-Pacific region before the year is out, Lonker said.

"It's really about continuing to expand the numbers of partners that provide SCI," Lonker said. The expansion of SCI into new geographies will also help existing partners support more customers in these areas, she said.

The expansion of SCI to more locations speaks to Acuative Corp., an IT services provider and Verizon partner selling SCI. Many Acuative clients have global footprints with many locations and a need for better security around their cloud environments, especially when traversing the public Internet to reach the cloud, said Bob Foley, president of Fairfield, N.J.-based Acuative.

"We are excited about providing a solution that will resonate in today's cloud environment," Foley said.

SCI offers private connections to six cloud providers in specific locations, including Verizon's own cloud services. Other included providers are Amazon Web Services, Google, HP, Microsoft Azure Express Route for Microsoft Office 365 and Salesforce. SCI can also connect to three data center providers -- Equinix, CoreSite and Verizon.

Dallas-based systems integrator and Verizon partner CompuCom Systems Inc. is selling Verizon's SCI as a value-add to some of its core offerings, like Microsoft Office 365, said Todd Pekats, CompuCom's director of infrastructure solutions consulting for Microsoft Services.

Pekats and his team help customers design, implement and support the Office 365 stack. But some customers have been hesitant to migrate to the cloud because of performance and security concerns associated with going over the public Internet.

Using SCI, CompuCom's enterprise and midsize customers can connect their own on-premise data center directly to Microsoft's data center in a highly secure, predicable manner that ensures service-level agreements, Pekats said.

"We now have an additional layer of security we can incorporate in the solutions we develop for our customers, and we're able to answer some customer concerns," he said.

Verizon's move to expand SCI into new geographic locations will also help CompuCom address customer concerns around cloud security outside of the U.S., Pekats said.

"We do have international customers and Microsoft may guarantee in-country service, but it still goes across the public network. [The SCI expansion] represents a new opportunity to add some additional innovation to our solutions and reach customers that limited their [adoption] of Office 365," he said.

SCI can be managed via an online portal. Users can add cloud platforms in a matter of minutes, Verizon's Lonker said. Partners selling SCI have access to the same management portal.

Acuative is using the online portal to manage its customer's cloud environments. SCI's portal gives partners greater visibility into applications, and easy, on-demand bandwidth provisioning, Foley said.

Verizon also said Wednesday that SCI is now available to U.S.-based public sector organizations. The first offerings for government customers certified by the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, or FedRAMP, provide connections to Verizon and Microsoft cloud platforms. These offerings are now available on Verizon’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts.

Public sector availability comes after the carrier strengthened its architecture to comply with FedRAMP requirements, a security standard necessary for federal customers to use any cloud service. Additional cloud providers will be added as network build-outs are completed, Verizon's Lonker said.

"Our government customers have liked SCI from Day 1 because [of] its private connectivity to cloud resources, so this is a great fit," she said.

CompuCom has a number of state and local government customers who have an appetite for Office 365, but are even more performance and security-conscious than other customers, Pekat said. "SCI provides a quality of service you can absolutely depend on," he said.