MNOs, it’s time for a security check up
It’s an exciting time to be associated with A2P SMS messaging, says Roneel Prasad, founder and CCO at 365squared. Recent market research carried out by Ovum indicates the A2P market is growing at a rate Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) simply cannot ignore.
The latest numbers show that A2P SMS accounted for 24% of total messaging traffic in the last year alone. Couple that with an estimated messaging traffic total of 2.21 trillion by 2017, and you have yourself one heck of a growth sector.
MNOs associate the rise of A2P SMS with increased spam and illegal messaging attacks on its subscribers via their networks. But MNOs are missing a trick here and quite possibly vast monetisation opportunities due to the fact they don’t have the sufficient network security tools in place to control and manage this surge in A2P SMS traffic.
Worryingly, the research also indicates that 75% of MNOs do not have suitable measures in place to control and monetise A2P SMS traffic that crosses their network. This astounds me given the fact the year on year growth of this industry. Why would only 25% of MNOs deploy a fit for purpose SMS firewall to monitor the users of their network and ensure they receive money from those users.
In 2012, many MNOs sat up and took notice of the illegal “grey route” usage on their network and decided to do something about it by installing a security monitoring system. But the statistics above suggest those MNOs have quickly got complacent and not updated their firewall since.
Let me ask you…. have you updated the software on your computer since 2012? If so, was it because of advancements in technology and security and that you wouldn’t feel safe using your computer with an outdated firewall? It is a fact that aggregators have teams constantly trying to understand firewall capabilities of MNOs and how to by-pass those capabilities. I will let that sink in for a while.
There are a number of MNOs who have quietly shared frustrations with me after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on firewalls, only to realise the unavailability of simple, yet essential, features (such as phrase blocking or sender ID black-listing) have led to grey route leakages within weeks of going live with “new state-of-the-art firewalls”. More often than not, months of hard work and expectations come to no avail and who wants to tell the senior management team that the A2P monetisation project is a failure because of a lack of understanding of the full requirements?
All is not lost however, and companies such as 365squared are here to partner with MNOs and assist them around the clock with their increased levels of A2P SMS traffic by offering a fully managed solution driven by committed experts. When looking for a suitable managed firewall service, it is important that MNOs not only look at their current security needs but also the needs of the future network.
A firewall isn’t necessarily there to block traffic but rather flag the traffic that is deemed illegal and instigate a charge for this traffic. Its therefore imperative MNOs choose a management service that will grow with them, offer analytics so it can advise them and more importantly be able to instantly detect those users who are not adding to an MNO’s bottom line.
Getting the firewall in place or updated is only the first step in this partnership between a managed services company (such as 365squared) and the MNO. Once the security is in place the true value of the service comes to light with 24-hour monitoring, statistics, income forecasting and periodic testing of the network. The cost of not deploying a management service is paled into insignificance when considering the amount of income that is currently slipping through the fingers of today’s MNOs with a less than modern firewall.
Overlooking or ignoring this income generating opportunity makes little sense in this current competitive landscape. The solution seems clear; take a close look at the security you have in place on your network or risk losing valuable profits.
The author of this blog is Roneel Prasad, founder and CCO at 365squared.
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