AT&T Cybersecurity Spin-Off: Managed Security ‘Startup’ LevelBlue Launched

‘I think of it as an entrepreneurial way to be in a global market as a leader on day one with one of the biggest partners in the world. We really want to be that hub in the security industry [for] providing really advanced cyber solutions,’ LevelBlue’s CEO Bob McCullen tells CRN on the company’s launch at RSA 2024.

AT&T Cybersecurity has spun out into its own, standalone managed cybersecurity services business called LevelBlue.

The telecom has entered into a joint venture with private equity firm WillJam Ventures to officially launch LevelBlue at RSA 2024, the two companies announced together on Monday. LevelBlue offers global managed security services, cybersecurity consulting, threat intelligence and security operations center (SOC) support. The company is initially going to market through channel partners, LevelBlue’s Chairman and CEO Bob McCullen told CRN.

LevelBlue at its launch is one of the largest startups in the cybersecurity industry to date with tens of thousands of customers coming over from AT&T, McCullen said.

“I think of it as an entrepreneurial way to be in a global market as a leader on day one with one of the biggest partners in the world,” he said. “We really want to be that hub in the security industry [for] providing really advanced cyber solutions.”

[Related: AT&T’s ‘Endgame’ Is To Boost Business Revenue Through 5G, Fiber, CEO Says]

LevelBlue includes more than 1,000 employees globally. Dallas-based AT&T will retain a minority ownership stake and board representation in the new entity, the two companies said.

Chicago-based WillJam Ventures is an investor with deep cybersecurity industry experience. McCullen, for his part, is managing partner of the investment firm and has an extensive background in the security space. The longtime tech executive served as CEO of managed detection and response provider Trustwave for more than 16 years and also held management positions at Verisign and IBM, where he oversaw managed security services.

The alliance between AT&T and WillJam, according to McCullen, is about both companies “doing what they do best.” WillJam has expertise in managed services and cybersecurity, while AT&T can continue its core connectivity business focus.

“[Security] isn’t getting easier. There are less people, more threats, more data, and this asset allows us to address a lot of those things, including cloud computing and AI. We’ve got a lot of assets to bring to bear,” McCullen said.

The company will initially focus on large enterprise and government customers, which have made up the majority of AT&T’s cybersecurity customer base, but LevelBlue plans on extending its offer to the midmarket in time, McCullen said.

The four services that LevelBlue is offering starts with managed services. The company’s managed services team can work alongside partners to implement security plans and operations, identify costs and complexity and identify where customers can adapt and scale as their business grows.

The next offering is threat intelligence, in which LevelBlue can help customers proactively identify threats and accelerate threat detection and response through its threat intelligence platform, rather than react to security events after the fact, McCullen said. The LevelBlue platform is backed by the Open Threat Exchange (OTX), a community of over 235,000 security professionals who submit 20 million plus threat indicators daily to help customers stay ahead of and prepare for a potential data breach.

“For me, all it’s about making sure that we’re offering predictive security and not reactive security, which the industry tends to focus on,” McCullen added.

The ongoing SOC support offering includes four global SOCs and three global Network Operations Centers (NOCs) that LevelBlue operates that are always on and monitored 24/7/365. In this area, the company is working with best-of-breed vendors to offer analytics and reporting capabilities, LevelBlue said.

Lastly, LevelBlue’s cybersecurity consulting services offer ongoing, assessment, planning and advisory through its experienced consulting team that includes professionals with an average of 15 years’ experience in cybersecurity who hold the latest security certifications, the company said. Customers can take advantage of the consulting service to identify their top cybersecurity priorities, design a secure environment and transform their networks to identify areas of cyber risk proactively, according to LevelBlue.