Networking News

AT&T Opens Up Secure Cloud Connectivity Solution, NetBond, To Solution Providers

Gina Narcisi

AT&T is helping the channel connect to the cloud.

The telco said it is making NetBond, its secure, cloud connection solution, available to its channel partners.

NetBond lets businesses directly connect to third-party cloud environments via a virtual private network (VPN). This is similar to using a public cloud service in terms of performance, but AT&T said it is able to add an extra layer of security because NetBond bypasses the public internet. AT&T launched NetBond in 2014 and the Dallas-based company announced its availability through the channel for the first time on Tuesday.

As more businesses move to the cloud, solution providers can help get them there securely. Channel partners – the trusted IT advisors to many businesses -- can give their customers the best of both worlds when it comes to public cloud, said Sue Galvanek, vice president of marketing, pricing and product solutions for AT&T Partner Exchange.

[Related: AT&T Channel Leaders on Mobility, IoT and What Solution Providers Can Expect From The 2016 Partner Exchange Summit ]

"NetBond allows [partners] to balance security and performance that customers want from a private cloud, while giving them access to the economies and flexibility of the public cloud," Galvanek said.

AT&T's NetBond offering can help businesses connect to 16 different cloud providers today. These providers include IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce, Amazon Web Services, HP, Blue Jeans Network, Sungard Availability Services, VMware, CSC, Box, Equinix, Cisco, EMC, TechM, Virtustream ,and Digital Realty.

AT&T said it will continue to add more cloud service providers to its ecosystem.

Solution providers have been demanding NetBond as an addition to the Partner Exchange portfolio, Galvanek said.

Alliant Technologies, a Morristown, N.J.-based solution provider and AT&T Premier partner was the first solution provider partner to sell and turn up NetBond for one of its business clients. Businesses are using public cloud services, but are hungry for a secure connection alternative to the internet, according to Phil Towle, senior vice president of sales for Alliant Technologies.

"Our customers are all complaining about accessing the ever-growing list of cloud providers through the internet," Towle said. "NetBond adds value to their existing MPLS environment, gives customers using broadband a better class of service. Without a doubt, this is a godsend for our customers and us."

Andy Daudelin, AT&T's vice president of cloud told CRN that NetBond is "a natural addition" to AT&T's VPN offering that solution providers are already selling through Partner Exchange. NetBond will be another recurring revenue opportunity for these partners, he said.

"For those end-user customers that are using AT&T's VPN and want to connect to the public cloud, this is a great way for those partners to add value to the technologies they are bringing to their customers, while strengthening their competitive edge in the market," Daudelin said.

With businesses turning to the cloud and 16 different cloud providers to choose from, NetBond will be a good fit for all Alliant's AT&T VPN clients, Towle said.

"We are going back and proposing NetBond for every one of our VPN customers, and we are seeing a take rate of nearly 100 percent; Customers are eating it up," he said.

AT&T isn't just dropping customers off at cloud's doorstep, Galvanek added. NetBond customers will benefit from AT&T's network management and cloud integration expertise.

Solution providers will also now have access to the NetBond portal to manage their customer's connectivity to their selected cloud providers. Channel partners can add connections to a new cloud provider their client chooses in minutes, Daudelin said.

"This helps customers easily grow their cloud usage," he said.

To help solution providers get up to speed with the latest offering, AT&T will include NetBond in AT&T Partner Exchange’s certification program.

AT&T's carrier competitors have made similar direct cloud connectivity offerings available to its channel partners, too. Verizon rolled out its Secure Cloud Interconnect service in 2014. The Basking Ridge, N.J.-based carrier made Secure Cloud Interconnect available to its partners in 2015. Philadelphia-based Comcast also extended private AWS Connectivity to solution providers in March, via its AWS Direct Connect solution.