BellSouth, Allies to Offer IP Services

ATLANTA (02/04/2000) - BellSouth Corp. is teaming with two other service providers to prepare large customers for selling on the Web and for setting up Internet-based communications among business partners.

Internet Security Systems (ISS) and Predictive Systems will sell services in conjunction with BellSouth to create and protect e-business networks.

ISS will focus on firewalls, intrusion detection and virus scanning, while Predictive will offer network consulting.

The partnerships allow BellSouth to offer services the company might not be able to otherwise, says Jilani Zeribi, an analyst with Current Analysis, a network consultancy in Sterling, Va.

"The only way you can develop these skill sets is through partnerships," Zeribi says. "To think you can grow your own expertise is foolish and naive."

ISS and Predictive will give BellSouth customers confidence in the services because both have established lines of business with major corporate customers, as well as international reach, he says.

The BellSouth-Predictive alliance offers four services: network readiness assessment; performance management; design and planning; and network management. Based in New York, Predictive has 500 employees and offices in Europe.

Its services are designed for customers with 500 to 10,000 employees. Pricing for these services is based on the extent of the project, but BellSouth will give an estimate at the outset.

BellSouth and ISS are getting together to handle Web security for corporations that don't want to develop the expertise it takes to shield their networks from hackers.

The company offers managed firewalls, intrusion detection and antivirus checks.

People skilled enough to handle these tasks are hard to find and hard to retain, so outsourcing makes sense, ISS says.

"Plus BellSouth gains immediate credibility in security, and that's something you just can't buy," Zeribi says.

BellSouth's relationship with Predictive includes a $10 million investment in the company, amounting to a stake of less than 2 percent.

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