AT&T sheds cybersecurity division to create LevelBlue – Total Telecom

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AT&T has divested its cybersecurity services group and established a joint venture backed by WillJam Ventures.

This week, AT&T announced it had completed the sale of its cybersecurity division to create a new standalone managed cybersecurity services business, LevelBlue, which will have over 1000 employees across 10 countries. WillJam Ventures is now the majority owner of LevelBlue, while AT&T will have a minority ownership stake.

Reports about the potential sale began circulating in early 2023. There were suggestions  that this would be the latest in a series of divestments in an effort to reduce debt incurred by the acquisitions of DirecTV and TimeWarner, and the fees incurred after the failed acquisition of T-Mobile.

LevelBlue includes AT&T’s managed service business, cybersecurity consulting business and assets from AT&T’s acquisition of AlienVault in 2018. Robert McCullen, chairman and CEO of LevelBlue and founder of WillJam Ventures said that AT&T will be “an alliance partner” and that the joint venture will “allow us to invest in the people and technology and really focus on our customers from a cyber perspective.”

Existing AT&T Cybersecurity customers include most of the Fortune 1000 companies in the U.S., and many local, state, and federal customers. Given the size and status of many of these customers, an efficient transition process is essential. McCullen said that since the announcement of the divestiture in November 2023, “we’ve been working on that data and migration, and a number of the systems that we already had were already in place”.

Divesting from AT&T grants LevelBlue flexibility to work with other operators and telcos, while being part of AT&T’s network-embedded security strategy. The new company benefits from AT&T’s position as a leading managed security service provider but has the ability to combine leading products and services from other companies.

LevelBlue intends to continue partnerships with vendors such as Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks, and Cisco, while evaluating newer vendors that can enhance its offerings for new use cases and various business sizes.

The company will include an internal research team, Blue Labs, which will focus on threat research and new product development, including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). “LevelBlue will look to bolster our threat intelligence capabilities. And a lot of that revolves around not just the people but the technology … we already have projects in AI and ML and we’ll continue to invest in that. We’ll also look at mergers and acquisitions as appropriate,” McCullen said.

AT&T said that LevelBlue’s consulting team is composed of former AT&T Security employees who benefit from an average of 15 years of experience in cybersecurity and hold the latest certifications. The cybersecurity consulting team will offer always-on assessment, planning and advisory services.

Rick Welday, executive vice president of AT&T Enterprise Markets hailed the launch of LevelBlue as a “significant milestone” which “simultaneously allows us to stay one step ahead of evolving cyber threats and foster innovation in the cybersecurity space.”

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