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Siemens Communications

In the Boardroom With…
Mr. Chris Meaney
Vice President
Secure Networks North America
Siemens Communications, Inc. (NYSE: SI)  With so many ‘security’ companies promoting products today, it can be difficult for any one vendor to really stand out. Can you tell us a little about Siemens’ approach to the market and how you are unique?

Chris Meaney: I’d be happy to. Let me start by saying just a few words about some of the changes that we’ve seen over the last couple of years. Leading organizations around the world are leveraging their networks more than ever to cut costs and increase productivity in order to remain competitive. Essential business functions like communications, physical security and IT often share the same infrastructure. With so much riding on the network, a comprehensive security solution is mandatory.

Siemens’ approach to the market is to provide end-to-end network security solutions. We are unique in terms of our size, resources and specific domain expertise. For example, Siemens Communications is a leading provider of VOIP solutions and Siemens Building Technologies helps to secure tens of thousands of facilities around the world. Unlike companies selling security products and software solutions, at Siemens we have a much deeper relationship with our customers and a better understanding of their requirements in each of the areas related to security. Siemens also has operating companies focused on specific vertical markets where security is critical, for instance, Siemens Medical Solutions in the healthcare market.  True, very few, if any, security companies have the scale or scope of Siemens. How do your security solutions leverage this situation?

Chris Meaney:  There are several ways that the network security group within Siemens is leveraging the other Siemens operating companies. First, we work together to define, test and deliver specific solutions to address market problems. By working with our colleagues, the solutions are based on first-hand experience and intimate market knowledge. Next, we work together to promote and sell the solutions. The respective operating companies understand their customers’ business problems and do a great job articulating the benefits of our solution. Plus, they have existing relationships and installed customer bases and they allow us to dramatically scale the number of professionals selling our solutions. Finally, by leveraging the scale of Siemens we are able to provide our customers with better pre and post sales support. We train the professional services and support teams of across the organization to ensure that we can excel in this critical area. Sounds like a promising plan. How would you describe the response so far and what are the primary market drivers generating demand for your solutions?

Chris Meaney:  The response from each of our partners has been fantastic. Industry analysts have also supported the approach.  Most importantly, the customers have embraced the solutions and they appreciate that the people introducing the solution really understand their business and their needs. In terms of market drivers, it varies some by industry, but there are definitely some consistent trends. Regulatory compliance and mandates like Sarbanes-Oxley are certainly driving a lot of deployments. We’ve actually seen the compliance issue generate projects that involve the integration of physical and logical security. The primary drivers of compliance, security and reducing costs are definitely all in play when it comes to these types of solutions. The integration of physical and logical access control seems to be gaining a lot of interest. So this would be an example where the security group teams up with the Siemens operating company focused on physical security?    

Chris Meaney:  Exactly. We are working very closely with Siemens Building Technologies. We provide smart card-based solutions that allow companies to issue multi-function ID cards that can be used for both building and IT security. In addition to corporate environments, they are particularly popular in healthcare and higher education. A lot of people assume that the integration of physical and logical access control is only at the ‘card’ level. We also provide an identity management solution specifically designed to address the needs of physical security. The solution allows organizations to automate many of the administrative processes involved with creating, removing and managing users and their associated clearances. As a result, companies can increase security while streamlining business processes, reducing costs and extending the useful lives of existing access control system investments.

Are there more examples where you work together with other Siemens operating companies or outside partners to provide horizontal or vertical solutions?   

Chris Meaney:  Absolutely, let me give you an example of each. As far as other Siemens operating companies, in addition to Siemens Building Technologies, we are working closely with Siemens Medical Solutions to deliver security solutions for the healthcare market. This includes smart card solutions for IT security used by clinicians as well as personal health cards which enable secure and portable medical records. I encourage you to take a look at the announcement that we recently made with Mount Sinai regarding smart cards for patients. We believe that the Mount Sinai project will set the bar for other healthcare organizations around the country. In terms of horizontal markets, in addition to solutions for physical access, Siemens and SAP formed a strategic relationship last year to deliver an integrated identity management solution. SAP customers can now synchronize users in both SAP and non-SAP systems. The integrated solution helps companies to solve user management problems and address compliance mandates.  How is Siemens addressing clients concerns, and the business impact that breaches in network security create with out over-taxing the IT security budget?

Chris Meaney:  Siemens provides solutions that not only secure customer environments but offer a real – verifiable – return on investment. We have a number of white papers, case studies and detailed business cases on the subject. The savings vary depending on the specific solution components that are deployed, but the primary areas are reduced administration, reduced hardware costs, increased productivity and increased security. Reducing overall costs is actually one of the primary drivers behind our solutions.  How is Siemens working with its partners to provide additional customer value in your security solutions?

Chris Meaney:  Siemens is working very closely with a number of partners to drive integrated solutions that provide maximum customer benefit. We work with our partners to ensure not only that they interoperate at a technical level but that our offerings complement theirs by providing unique features and functionality that benefits our customers. The SAP relationship we talked about earlier is a good example. Siemens also has a strong with 3Com, for instance, so that we can offer our customers best-of-breed networking products and intrusion prevention with their Tipping Point offerings.  Customer needs typically do not end at cut over. How is Siemens addressing the ongoing support requirements of your clients in multi-vendor environments?

Chris Meaney:  Siemens is one of the few integrators to provide a comprehensive set of services. We can guide our clients’ projects from the initial stages of creating a security policy through implementation and full lifecycle support or managed services. Our customers do not have to be experts in security to benefit from the advanced solutions – that’s our job. We allow our customers to stay focused on their core businesses.  Security concerns have hampered the full deployment of wireless networks. How is Siemens helping it customer address the security issues so that they can realize the full business benefits of mobility? 

Chris Meaney:  The ability to access corporate information from anywhere at any time without information overload can have a huge business impact. Unfortunately, many organizations have been reluctant to implement these mobility solutions for fear that unauthorized users will also be able to access corporate information.  To secure the wireless domain, we recently announced the HiPath Wireless Manager Advanced which provides state of the art wireless IPS protection. But it can’t end there. We also ensure the authenticity of the user by implementing strong authentication and role-based access control and we can quarantine any out of policy users. With these security controls in place, organizations can realize the benefits of mobility – knowing that only authorized users have access and only to the appropriate resources.  Thank you very much for your time today, Chris. It was very interesting to see how Siemens is approaching the security market.

Chris Meaney:  No problem, thank you for inviting us and letting us share our thoughts and experience on the subject.

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