Lumen bolsters SASE suite with Versa, Rapid Threat Defense

Just a few months after new Lumen CEO Kate Johnson expressed a desire to commercialize technology from its Black Lotus Labs cybersecurity division, the company did just that. On Thursday, it launched Rapid Threat Defense, a product designed to block malicious traffic before it reaches a customer’s network. It also added Versa Networks to its ecosystem of secure access service edge (SASE) vendors.

Rapid Threat Defense is fueled by Black Lotus Labs’ proprietary analysis of daily traffic flows. Darren Wolner, senior director of SASE product management for Lumen, told Fierce that Black Lotus Labs scans more than 200 billion NetFlow sessions and more than 1 billion Domain Name System queries each day. This allows it to uncover and track unique threats and emerging patterns using automation and machine learning.

The Rapid Threat Defense system then generates what Wolner called “indicators of compromise” which are assigned a score based on their risk level and combined with Black Lotus Labs’ other threat intelligence. If the risk scores are above a certain threshold, the system will automatically prevent the customer from interacting with the threat.

Wolner added Black Lotus Labs updates the Rapid Threat Defense system every 15 minutes to ensure its countermeasures are effective against the latest attacks.

According to Wolner, Rapid Threat Defense capabilities were already available to customers using Lumen's DDoS Mitigation Service, Lumen Edge Protect and Network Firewall solutions. It is now offered as part of Lumen’s Fortinet SASE solution and will be integrated into Lumen’s other SASE offerings in the coming months.

SASE partner expansion

Lumen launched its SASE purchase pipeline last year, initially teaming with Fortinet and VMware. This week, it added Versa Networks to the mix. Versa has been recognized for its unified approach to SASE.

“Lumen and Versa have partnered to offer SD-WAN solutions for more than eight years, so expanding the relationship to include Versa’s award-winning SASE software was a no-brainer,” Wolner said.

Wolner noted Lumen is seeing increased demand for unified SASE solutions in response to technology and workforce developments.

“Enterprise applications and data are moving from legacy WAN architectures to cloud-based applications and SaaS subscription models. Workforces have shifted to a ‘work from anywhere’ model,” he explained of the trend. “Traditional IP VPN WANs are not optimal in this new paradigm, and that’s driving a shift toward hybrid WAN (private/public) or IP WAN connectivity, with overlay SD-WAN and security services as part of the SASE framework.”


4/20/2023 4:47 PM ET: Paragraph five of this story has been updated to reflect the correct information about where Rapid Threat Defense was and is now available.