Security firm targets telecommuters

Converge Net, a Montreal-based networking company, and Network Associates Inc. announced on Monday that they will resell McAfee’s ASaP Web-based security services in a bid to help mobile workers screen for viruses.

Converge Net will provide all the front-end technical support as part of a managed service offering that includes virus protection, desktop firewall services and vulnerability assessments. McAfee will act as the application service provider (ASP), responsible for all the necessary infrastructure. Ultimately, it will be McAfee’s technologies that will block the unwanted viruses or attachments from entering companies’ networks.

Security remains a hot topic in the information technology industry, the companies said.

“Our choice to join McAfee as an ASaP partner is based on the increase of telecommuters attaching data to their corporate networks,” said Ryk Edelstein, president of Converge Net in Montreal.

He added that remote users need to manage viruses that could potentially infect the network, regardless of their location.

The anti-virus service provided by McAfee is completely Web-based and runs on all Microsoft Windows programs from Version 95 upward. It is available at the desktop level only, and is designed for desktop scanning. “Virus Screen is a managed e-mail virus service. It’s based on our Web shield technology (and) it’s going to stop any infected e-mail or attachment from entering or leaving your system,” said Robert Churhill, sales engineer for McAfee in Beaverton, Ore.

He said that all e-mails first go to McAfee’s scanners to be cleaned so that no virus ever reaches the networks. Users are also offered an automatic antivirus updating feature.

The demand for services such as Converge Net’s is on the rise, according to one industry analyst. “Given the paranoia around Internet-based security attacks, having the ability to go to an application service provider for some antivirus stuff has a little more immediacy. It’s a little more attractive simply because it’s more tangible,” said Mark Quigley, research director for the Yankee Group in Canada, based in Ottawa.

Edelstein said the partnership with McAfee began last September, and while the English version of the site is complete, they hope to have the bilingual site completed by the third quarter of this year.

McAfee in Sunnyvale, Calif., can be reached at http://www.mcafee.com

Yankee Group in Canada in Ottawa can be reached at http://www.yankeegroup.com

Converge Net in Montreal can be reached at http://www.converge-net.com