Enterasys branches out with security

As sensitive data travels increasingly across networks, IT managers are faced with two key issues: keeping connectivity and maintaining security. Last month, Enterasys Networks Inc. presented a solution to these problems in the form of a branch office security router.

The Portsmouth, N.H.-based company has released the X-Pedition Security Router 1800 series (XSR-1800), a family of next-generation security routers that deliver remote office networking by combining a suite of IP router features and a range of WAN interfaces with enterprise-class VPN and policy-managed distributed firewalling.

Although admittedly new in the WAN routing space, Enterasys’ Ben McLeod said the company’s offering brings an integrated host of security technologies to enable businesses to defend and protect remote locations.

“Specifically what we have done here is integrate our VPN technologies,” said McLeod, director of product marketing in Andover, Mass. “It is a stateful inspection firewall that gives you the highest level of protection you can have.”

The XSR-1800 series is fully managed by Enterasys’ NetSight Atlas network management solution and is also supported by the company’s EnteraCare services offering.

According to McLeod, Enterasys will offer enhancements to the XSR series throughout the year. The company has plans to add an intrusion detection sensor from its Dragon Intrusion Detection product, and will also add support for convergence of voice, video and data applications to branch offices.

“If you look at how branch offices were typically set up in the past, you typically had a router to provide LAN connectivity on the one side and WAN connections on the other,” McLeod explained. “You also had separate standalone firewalls and if you wanted to use the Internet, you had to have a separate VPN tunnel server also at the location. What needs to happen is that all of those technologies need to be collapsed into one security box that is easier to manage, and you have a single set of rules and a single interface for diagnosing problems. What we are doing straight out of the gate is providing all this security in the branch office router.”

Security was a top priority for Wawa Foods in Wawa, Pa. The company has plans to deploy a Frame Relay connection to all of its 550 convenience stores and was looking for a product that would offer high levels of security without sacrificing performance.

“One of the reasons we picked [the XSR] was because it had all of the features and functionalities…as the top line routers by say a Lucent or a Cisco but not the big price tag,” said Martin Maglio, director of IT architecture for Wawa Foods. “We are actually going to be doing all our credit authorizations from our stores over that network, so security had to be a big deal to us.”

And, although the product was still in Wawa’s testing lab at press time, Maglio said so far it has performed well.

“We got it about two months ago and started kicking it around a bit to see if the wheels were going to fall off,” he said. “I would say that it works extremely well. It has given us some insight into some of the stuff we want to go and clean up with regards to applications.”

The XSR-1805, the first release in the series, is available now and pricing starts at US$1,495. For more information, visit the company on the Web at http://www.enterasys.com.