Akamai CEO: Biggest Competitors ‘Also Our Biggest Customers’

LAS VEGAS — Touching on everything from the need for multiple cloud partners, to modern data challenges for ISPs, to the rising business of enterprise security, Akamai CEO Tom Leighton used his company’s Edge World 2019 event to tout all the gains his company has made of late, and what’s in store down the line.

The sheer amount of data Akamai’s edge platform customers are dealing with today requires the company to keep as many partners around as possible, especially in the cloud sector, Leighton said.

“I think the migration has been steady, from your data center, to the cloud, to the edge. And increasingly you’re seeing the desire to be with multiple cloud companies, instead of just one,” he said. “You [also] need to have relationships with all the ISPs at the edge. That’s uniquely Akamai.”

As a sign of his company’s cloud commitment, Leighton pointed to the April announcement Akamai’s content delivery network (CDN) capabilities would become integrated with Microsoft Azure Media Services and Blob Storage, making it easier and cheaper for media companies to combine cloud-based video processing with edge delivery.

On the security front, Leighton predicted a $1 billion business for enterprise security services in the near future, with the company increasingly seeing the need for data protection from its clients.

“Bots are evolving so quickly, it’s hard for our customers to keep up. We stand in front of the cloud, we absorb those attacks before they get to the data center,” he said. “Think of us as the front-end, the shield.”

Leighton’s meeting with analysts and journalists was preceded by a major announcement from the company, with Akamai debuting its Edge Cloud solution, which is designed to scale and secure and Internet of Things (IoT) connected device and in-application messaging. The offering enables real-time messaging and reliability to millions of IoT and application endpoints, the company said, and is designed to address the approximately 22 billion connected devices sending data across the internet by 2025.

“Akamai is investing to extend its network capabilities with the goal of meeting the unique needs of the growing IoT device and application messaging markets,” said Craig Adams, SVP and GM of web performance and security for Akamai. “Delivering massive amounts of data across the globe securely is in Akamai’s DNA. We are focused on developing technology designed to scale, simplify and secure the way IoT and application data is delivered to endpoints.”

IoT Edge Connect, a product within the Edge Cloud solution line, is designed to scale against the vendor networks that weren’t built with the sheer number of devices coming online, and does so with real-time data delivery and capabilities that allow for easier data management. The service promises to reduce device battery drain and optimize data delivery speed and volume, using end-to-end mutual authentication between connected endpoints and the Akamai Edge Cloud.

“Akamai believes that we are offering the next generation of messaging with scalability, operational simplicity and security, providing a turn-key solution that allows customers to focus on their core business rather than integrating and managing discreet but necessary components for messaging,” said Lior Netzer, VP and CTO of IoT for Akamai. “With the launch of IoT Edge Connect, we’re harnessing the power of the Edge and bringing it to the next frontier of connected devices and applications.”