Security affects every aspect of a business -- and no career reflects that philosophy more than that of Rita Marty, executive director, Mobility and Cloud, at AT&T's Chief Security Office.
In her 16 years at AT&T, Marty has held a broad swathe of responsibilities that ultimately give her perspective into both the business and technological aspects of securing AT&T's network. Along with her colleagues, Marty's task today is to develop the security architecture and framework for AT&T Mobility, Network, Virtualization and emerging services such as U-verse and connected car.
This role is set against a backdrop of AT&T's plans to virtualize 75% of its network by 2020, a transformation that will integrate SDN and NFV into everyday operations and form a new landscape for network and organizational security, including new tools and strategies.
Leading the Security Charge
Rita Marty is part of AT&T's Chief Security Office, which protects the company's networks, assets, cloud transition and customers. (Source: AT&T)
Marty, who has a degree in electrical engineering and a master's degree in finance, launched her AT&T career by overseeing the company's Olympics broadcast from Sydney, Australia, she says. (NBC recently named AT&T its partner for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. See Virtual Newsbites: CSPs Amp Up 5G Spending.)
After other roles that focused on target architecture and scaling the network to support billions of Internet of Things devices, three years ago she joined the CSO office, Marty tells The New IP.
"I was approached to help the CSO organization with mobile security as threats evolved over time. My job evolved to be broader than mobility. I have responsibility for cloud security. I support the company's vision to evolve into a cloud-based architecture," says Marty.
Although a lot of attention focuses on the ever-evolving threat backdrop, it's important to remember service providers, developers and other partners are not standing still, she says.
"Security is also evolving, but I think what's exciting about the transformation to the cloud -- SDN and NFV -- is it will enable us to offer security at a different level. For example, today if there is a DDOS [distributed denial of service] attack, there is impact to our customers. When we move to SDN, when we move to virtualization, that changes the landscape for security," says Marty. "It offers a chance to respond dynamically and in real time. If one of our network elements is in over-use, with SDN and NFV, the network is elastic. The network is able to scale up and scale down and minimize the impact. These are the examples I like to use when I talk to our customers."
AT&T is not just talking about migrating applications to the cloud; it's also moving security to the cloud, she says. This "massive transformation" is still in its early stages, Marty admits, but by adding more security within the cloud AT&T enhances protection for both itself and its customers, she says.
Service providers have an edge because their networks always have required both security and reliability, but shifting that same quality to the cloud is not without hurdles.
"I think scale is going to be a challenge, especially for a company like AT&T, especially when we talk about carrier-grade networks," Marty says. "The scale is going to be massive. Doing all that while minimizing capex and opex is going to be interesting, but at the same time we must do all that while ensuring the security posture is maintained on the network. Scalability is going to be an area where we put a lot of emphasis.
"For us as a company, security and performance are part of our heritage, part of our DNA. When I look at security, it's really end-to-end. It's about security monitoring, analytics, big data, IoT management, platforms -- our traditional security model had to evolve to secure the cloud."
Hear directly from Rita Marty when she's our Tune in Tuesday guest on The New IP radio at 2 p.m. EDT/11 a.m. PDT on April 26. Register here.
— Alison Diana, editor, The New IP
. Follow her on Twitter @alisoncdiana