Qwest Creating Security SLAs

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Qwest Communications International is attempting to develop service-level agreements for security offerings as part of an initiative planned for the second quarter, said Qwest business partners.

One partner close to the carrier's efforts said Qwest is "trying to figure out" how to package SLAs and compensate end users for security breaches.

Partners view the SLA strategy as unprecedented and said they believe Qwest's SLAs will call for compensating end users by eliminating services fees rather than paying for lost revenue or damage to a customer's business should a breach occur.

"Anything that [Qwest can do that can provide an additional level of guarantee that its service is highly secure and at the same time differentiate itself from its competitors, I'm in favor of," said Jeff Kaufman, founder and CEO of Qwest partner Linwood Communications, Newton, Mass.

Another agent, who requested anonymity, said the security SLAs are in development, but Qwest is tight-lipped on the details of the initiative. The partner executive said Qwest is also set to roll out a suite of security offerings within the next 30 to 60 days.

Qwest declined to comment about whether it is developing the SLAs, but confirmed that the carrier expects to release a security suite within two months.

Some partners are wary of the risk if and when Qwest introduces security SLAs.

"I think they might be putting their neck out there if they guarantee security and say they are going to pay for any problems that come up," said another partner who requested anonymity. "What if the customer expects to be compensated [monetarily for damages?"

At the Qwest partner show last month, Qwest executives said security would be a major push for the carrier in the second quarter but were mum on specifics.

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