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A leading secure application services company - are aiming to combat the security concerns of service providers by introducing a new firewall solution which can pave a secure path to 5G and proliferation of the Internet of Things.

A10 Networks, a US based company founded in 2004 by Lee Chen is headquartered in San Jose, California. The organization specializes in the manufacturing of application delivery controllers (software and hardware) and they showcased their new innovative solution at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The new A10 Thunder CFW addresses rising security concerns of service providers who are focused on the industry's transition to 5G, broad-scale deployment of network functions virtualization (NFV), software-defined networking (SDN) technologies and the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices.

The A10 Thunder CFW also helps service providers deliver a strong, secure networking environment for their own infrastructure as well as for their subscribers by combining the security of a carrier-grade firewall with built-in CGN and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) features.

A10 Networks' convergent firewall allows service providers and enterprises to streamline their networks by consolidating security and application networking into a single, high-performance solution. This gives A10 customers the security, high performance and efficiency to enhance their network's predictability, while confidently introducing revenue-generating applications to service growing subscriber needs.

Telecom Review managed to secure an exclusive interview with A10 Networks at the Mobile Expo in Barcelona in order to examine the benefits and impact A10's new solution will have on the industry - and explore the challenges and opportunities presented by the rapid growth of data that is set to increase by three times what it is now by 2020.

Paul Nicholson, Director of Product Marketing briefly detailed A10's history to Telecom Review and spoke about its growth since its inception in 2004 and talked specifically about the impact and benefits of the Thunder CFW.

Nicholson said: "We were established in 2004, and we have now around 5,800 customers in 27 different countries. We're about 45% service provider and 55% enterprise, but that figure varies from time-to-time. The service provider is why we're here at MWC showcasing our new solution. We basically deliver secure application services for service providers and enterprises. This solves a range of different problems for our customers around scaling their networks, whilst also securing their networks. Within that we have multiple different solutions all for very specific things one of the advantages we have is we can also offer a pure software or hardware which is attractive for a lot of companies that want to move towards a virtualized network in SDN or NFV type of environment."

Nicholson pointed out that the phenomenal growth in mobile traffic and the increase in connected devices will significantly increase the volume of data - and this is an area in which A10 can use their technologies to help providers not only secure their network but enable them to scale, otherwise there's no point, it's the duality of factors that are key for A10 according to Nicholson.

He added: "The solution we're speaking about today is our Thunder CFW product line. Because what we are actually announcing here at MWC is a solution that fundamentally helps mobile service providers. The traffic in 2020 is going to be three times what it is today - if you look at predicted smartphone penetration it's going to be somewhere around 6.8 billion by 2020 - that's a staggering number. Even if you look at your own home there are more and more devices that are connected - service providers have to worry about a couple of different things, such as technology shifts - because we've got 3G and 4G today, but 5G is coming; with that, there's going to be a lot more data out there."

Nicholson stressed that service providers want to optimize their networks to ensure they can scale them efficiently. Nicholson said: "If you're a mobile service provider you've got a lot more devices coming - so this isn't specifically a mobile threat as you've got technology shifts and the scales are getting bigger.  If you're running an enterprise you don't need a cell tower in your building. Service providers want to optimize their networks to make sure that they can scale them and also keep it efficient. Security isn't just security - security is also efficiency."

"The A10 Thunder CFW enables service providers to secure and scale their infrastructure to meet subscribers' mobility needs as 5G and Internet of Things trends become prominent," said Raj Jalan, CTO of A10 Networks. "With the A10 Thunder CFW Gi/SGi Firewall, our customers enjoy the security of a carrier-grade firewall coupled with integrated DDoS protection, and they also have a path to future-proof their networks for next generation technologies."

Increasing mobile data traffic and the advancement of settled standards will drive 5G emergence according to analyst Jeff Wilson, Senior Research Director, Cybersecurity Technology, IHS Markit.

He said: "As service providers look to gradually evolve their 4G networks, they will be looking to monetize new services and applications, which in turn will create new security scenarios and require new security solutions. A10 Thunder CFW has all the pieces in place to help service providers navigate not only emerging network architectures, but also the ever-evolving threat landscape."

"There's still a lot of opportunity in the Gi Firewall market," said Patrick Donegan, Principal Analyst, HardenStance. "According to our market estimates it's a pretty safe bet that at least one in four mobile operators still don't have any firewall implemented on the Gi interface. Among the majority that does new firewall capacity and feature requirements are also continuing to evolve."

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