In a bid to enhance the cybersecurity networks of various institutions and establishments in the country, NOW Corporation and NOW Telecom launched on Nov. 7 its “Respond and Replace” program that will enable all kinds of entities to assess the resiliency of their current networks.

The “Respond and Replace” program seeks to offer complete end-to-end solutions for businesses in the Indo-Pacific region to strengthen their digital critical infrastructures, and further propagate the Trusted Network initiative in the country.

The Trusted Network initiative pertains to creating a global community of trusted vendors in the telecommunications and infrastructure sectors that are all working towards minimizing vulnerabilities that are easily exploitable by malignant actors.

Globally, around 60 nations are part of the Trusted Network initiative, including the US, United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and India; and around 180 telecom companies including Telstra of Australia, SK Telecom & K.T. of South Korea, Reliance Jio of India, Rakuten and Softbank of Japan, and Telus & Bell of Canada, and global technology partners like CISCO, Nokia, Ericsson, Samsung.

The Philippines was chosen by the US as the initial launching pad of the Trusted Network in Asia, said the firm.

NOW Corp. President and CEO Henry Andrew Abes said that the firm “understands the critical nature of highly sensitive personal information, and this program protects the data integral to the functioning and trust of key industries like finance, healthcare, government services, and utility providers.”

“Our initiative comes at a time when many critical sectors have untrusted vendors either within their network or their facilities, posing potential threats. The Respond and Replace program addresses this issue head-on,” he added.

NOW said it is opening the “Respond and Replace” program to all large conglomerates, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), government institutions and non-government organizations (NGOs), whether they are existing or prospective clients. They will also cater to entities that are located in areas where NOW has no coverage.

The primary proponent of the “Respond and Replace” program is the Cyber Threat Assessment Program (CTAP) which is designed to “identify and address vulnerabilities in both private and public sector organizations.”

Through CTAP, free assessment services for enterprises and small businesses are offered, likened to an “executive check-up” to evaluate the safety and legitimacy of the networks and equipment they are utilizing for their businesses.

This is done in order to reduce the number of establishments using untrusted networks or technologies from untrusted vendors and sources.

Untrusted vendors are technology companies that have been identified as non-compliant to the standards of their respective countries. These companies may offer services, both for software and hardware, that include unsafe data sharing and disclosure of personal data.

NOW will manage the CTAP through the TODAY or “Technologies on Demand Assist You” platform, wherein interested clients can schedule their consultations via the website. A virtual 30 minutes discovery call will be conducted, followed by an on-site deployment of four to seven days.

Upon availing of the assessment through CTAP, clients will receive a detailed report within a week, regarding their networks and information technology (IT) infrastructures’ strengths and weaknesses.

Depending on the results, NOW will suggest succeeding actions and can refer clients to the partner technology suppliers who are a part of the Trusted Network.

NOW will be using its strategic alliances with global tech giants such as CISCO, Nokia, Fortinet, Mangata, OneWeb, Celona, and other technology partners in collaboration with the Philippine Military, the Cybercrime Investigation Coordinating Center (CICC), Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), UnionBank of the Philippines, and other organizations to recommend solutions.

The firm said that it is currently targeting the larger enterprises to establish partnerships, but are encouraging small companies to also invest in creating safer networks to run their businesses.

NOW will also help and guide entities, especially those who will express their willingness to invest in cybersecurity, in choosing products and services from Trusted Networks through continued dialogue, and even refer clients to a variety of options offering safe equipment and software.

“Deploying untrusted hardware and software including sensors and devices without rigorous vetting can open the door for unauthorized surveillance on both sensitive enterprise data and individuals, effectively turning what should be a protective measure into an unintended self-inflicted breach. With the recent breaches with some of our national government agencies, we must take action immediately,” said NOW Telecom President Rene Rosales.

NOW Corp and NOW Telecom have previously established numerous partnerships with fellow global telco firms like Cisco for 5G mobile and cellular network rollouts, and Fortinet for 5G cybersecurity, as well as partnerships with the US government through the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) for 5G technologies such as the 5G SA pilot network in Metro Manila, the nationwide 5G SA wireless network, and the design and feasibility of a nationwide broadband network (NBN).

Overall, NOW aims to deliver technology services across 16 critical infrastructure sectors namely chemical, commercial facilities, communications, critical manufacturing, dams, defense industrial base, emergency services, energy, financial services, food and agriculture, government facilities, public health, information tech, nuclear, transportation, and water and waste systems.


Source: Manila Bulletin

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