Singtel’s Acquisition of Trustwave, and the Impact to CDNs

Lately, Singtel has been one of the most active Carriers in the world. They’ve formed partnerships with EdgeCast and Akamai, partnered with FireEye, acquired Trustwave, started a Skype and WatsApp competitor, and made some executive changes at the top, in their digital business unit. Of everything just mentioned, the biggest news is the acquisition of Trustwave. The acquisition impacts the CDN Ecosystem, and the cyber security industry in one move. Also, the acquisition opens the doors to thousands of American companies that are using Trustwave’s products and services, such as Target.

Who is Singtel ? Singtel, also known as Singapore Telecommunications is $52B APAC Carrier with 500M mobile customers, and is largest listed company on the Singapore Exchange. Its main operations are in Singapore and Australia. The acquisition impacts many CDNs, because Trustwave’s open source Web Application Firewall, called ModSecurity is in use by the majority of CDNs. Although ModSecurity is open source, Trustwave sells a premium rule sets that complements the free basic WAF rule set. Thus, CDNs that are using ModSecurity are now Singtel customers.

Although nothing is likely to change in the short term, being that Trustwave announced operations will continue as is, there is a possibility that things might change in the future. ModSecurity is the most widely used open source WAF in the world, and in a way they have a lock on some segments of the industry. CDNs really don’t have other options when it comes to WAF. Barracuda, F5 Networks and most other manufacturer backed WAF’s don’t cut the mustard in a CDN environment. One option is for CDNs to develop WAF from the ground up, but that is a major undertaking, especially for CDNs. On the retail side, Trustwave is used by thousands of retailers across the world. In the US, large retailers like Target use Trustwave for PCI compliance. During the Target breach, Trustwave assisted the Target team make sense of the compromise. Singtel must be excited that a new market has opened for them in the US. The acquisition has to rank as one of the most exciting of the last 12 months, because it was so unexpected. Singtel is a dynamic carrier that is taking calculated risk and crossing over into new non-core markets.

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