That is why Black Lotus, a provider of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) solutions, is focused on building strategic relationships that offer the company new avenues to improve the customer experience.
In the below Q&A, Xenophon Giannis, SVP of Sales and Marketing for Black Lotus, discusses the company’s strategic partnerships, including a success ongoing relationship with CoreSite.
Channel Marketer Report (CMR): How did the relationship between Black Lotus and CoreSite come about?
Giannis: In 2012, Black Lotus launched a new datacenter facility (LA2) at CoreSite’s Wilshire Annex location in Los Angeles, which has since become one of our company’s primary Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) mitigation facilities in the region. This resulted in a closer relationship with CoreSite. Black Lotus became part of the CoreSite Open Cloud Exchange and Any2 Internet Exchange, which allows our company to deliver DDoS protection service to any CoreSite market and to peer extensively with domestic and international networks, improving the quality of our company’s network and DDoS attack mitigation.
Since the partnership release, Black Lotus has also relocated its Emergency Response Center from Lacy Street to the Wilshire Annex facility, enabling our company’s engineers to more effectively respond to contingencies while offering an environment with much greater security and utility service reliability.
CMR: What value does the relationship have to your business and your overall brand?
Giannis: At Black Lotus we carefully align ourselves with best-in-breed partners who are well recognized within our industry. The CoreSite partnership is crucial for us as we continue to define our own brand in the delivery of superior quality DDoS mitigation solutions that require the highest tier datacenter facilities to ensure maximum reliability and the ability to rapidly deliver service to our customers. Black Lotus and CoreSite share a similar vision in adherence to the strictest quality standards and an unrelenting customer focus.
CMR: What challenges does your company face in terms of keeping pace with new trends and threats in cybersecurity?
Giannis: Threats to information security continue to proliferate at an alarming rate. In 2014 alone there have been two key events that are signaling a massive paradigm shift in how information services are delivered. Black Lotus observed two distinct waves of massive DDoS attacks caused by vulnerabilities in the network time protocol (NTP), which resulted in a record breaking bit rate of 421 gigabytes per second (Gbps) on February 10, 2014, causing unforeseen damage to service providers and enterprises, many of which faced numerous outages. Further, tier-one carrier networks were also affected, resulting in collateral damage to non-targeted downstream customers across numerous regions resulting in packet loss as high as 35%. In other words, these attacks threatened the stability of the entire Internet before network operators and volunteers at the OPEN NTP Project were able to mitigate the threat by implementing DDoS attack mitigation and awareness campaigns aimed at assisting operators of NTP servers in patching the vulnerabilities.
On April 7, 2014, the security community was once again scrambling to prevent catastrophic damage from the newly discovered TLS heartbeat vulnerability, otherwise known as “Heartbleed,” which may have leaked confidential data such as login credentials and SSL private keys for the past two years. This problem was compounded by abnormalities in disclosure; certain vendors were notified of the vulnerability and kept this information private prior to its public disclosure, a violation of accepted convention, which may have exacerbated the severity of the threat for at least a week leading up to disclosure.
Black Lotus must prepare for literally any contingency and be able to mount a swift and appropriate response while service providers must redefine themselves as security companies. This entails ensuring that service provider networks are secure against known and expected threats while further ensuring that employees of service providers are appropriately trained to deal with response and remediation when the next “Heartbleed” is discovered.
CMR: What challenges do you face in terms of educating your customers and prospects about the solutions they need to keep pace?
Giannis: Historically, many companies have operated under the presumption that only a basic understanding of information security is required to operate on the Internet and that in many cases DDoS protection is not required. Similarly, service providers often operate under the assumption that if a customer is attacked that the problem can be “solved” by simply removing that customer. These assumptions are categorically false, and as the seriousness of events continues to proliferate it is crucial for companies to understand that an appropriate defense posture must account for both known and unknown threats, each of which has proven substantially more frightening.
Black Lotus systematically educates customers and creates public awareness through social media, media relations, and the release of newly established quarterly threat reports. Additionally, Black Lotus experts will be speaking at industry events on these threats and the paradigm shift that has begun to occur in earnest over the past several months.
CMR: How will you be going to market with the CoreSite solution?
Giannis: While DDoS mitigation services are inherently complicated, Black Lotus has always been careful to ensure that the delivery of those services is a seamless process. As methods of service delivery continue to improve, we are careful to integrate changes in a way that enhances the user experience. In the case of the CoreSite partnership, Black Lotus will make improvements to the network and its ability to deliver service to the end user and communicate these improvements to customers and prospects through public awareness and relationship management.
For example, as the CoreSite partnership opens new markets for direct connection, relationship managers will be communicating with customers who are impacted by those changes and will educate customers about new service delivery options that have the potential to improve the overall quality and reliability of the customer’s service.
CMR: Beyond the CoreSite relationship, does Black Lotus have any other partners?
Giannis: Black Lotus has recently entered into a similar relationship with the datacenter operator Iron Mountain and maintains a close relationship with the DDoS mitigation hardware manufacturer NSFOCUS. What all of these relationships have in common is that they provide Black Lotus with new avenues for service delivery that greatly improve the customer experience in the area of quality, speed and reliability.
Every strategic relationship at Black Lotus has a customer focus and will be leveraged to solve business problems, often before they occur.
CMR: How do you ensure any of your partners are equipped to market and sell your solutions?
Giannis: As many Black Lotus customers are service providers who deliver DDoS mitigation service to hundreds of thousands of end users, it is crucial that our service provider customers understand the service, how it is delivered, how to support it and best practices for marketing and presentation. This requires close and continuing relationships between service provider customers and Black Lotus experts to maintain the integrity of the service.
CMR: Do you have any specific goals in place for growing or refining your channel in 2014?
Giannis: Black Lotus’ marketing efforts continue to focus heavily on education. Our services are substantially ahead of their time and address problems that have not yet fully materialized, and we feel it’s crucial that service providers and enterprises be aware of the threats to their organizations. Equally crucial, Black Lotus must maintain a close and continuing relationship with customers and network operators to stay abreast of trends and to observe indicators of future threats.
This program is designed to foster awareness while placing the Black Lotus brand at the forefront of DDoS mitigation discourse.