CA, SteelCloud partner for new security appliance

A partnership between Computer Associates International Inc. and SteelCloud Inc. will deliver CA’s eTrust family of security technology in the form of rack-mounted appliances that are “hardened” to reduce their vulnerability to attack.

SteelCloud of Dulles, Va., will soon offer a family of enterprise security appliances using eTrust antivirus and intrusion detection technology, the company said Tuesday.

The SteelCloud Anti-Virus Gateway (AVG) 3000 will run CA’s eTrust Antivirus software, will sell for just under US$20,000 and is equipped with an Intel Corp. Pentium 4 processor with 800MHz front-side bus, according to Brian Hajost, executive vice-president of SteelCloud.

The SteelCloud AVG 5000 will start at just over US$20,000 and is equipped with dual Intel Xeon processors with a 533MHz front-side bus.

Both models come with dual Ethernet ports. The 3000 model features one 10/100 port for Internet access and one copper-based gigabit port for an internal network connection. The 5000 model comes standard with dual copper gigabit Ethernet ports. Customers also have the option of dual fibre-based gigabit Ethernet ports for the 5000 model, Hajost said.

The partnership with Computer Associates is SteelCloud’s first attempt at packaging a hardware appliance under its own name and Computer Associates’ first try at a security appliance.

In business since 1987, SteelCloud specializes in developing secure hardware and software platforms that are then outfitted with specialized software and sold under other companies’ brands through original equipment manufacturer (OEM) relationships, Hajost said.

In particular, the company distributes a version of Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Embedded, a family of operating system software for use in nonpersonal computing devices such as server appliances, gateways and automated teller machines.

While organizations can license Windows Embedded directly from Microsoft, SteelCloud has already done the work of “hardening” the system for use on a security appliance, removing functionality and components not needed for the specific purpose of the device. SteelCloud has also developed strategies for optimizing the performance of Embedded Windows on its hardware, Hajost said.

The result is a streamlined operating environment with few holes for attackers to exploit and a 100 per cent performance improvement over a standard Windows installation on the same platform, he said.

The decision to step out on its own came from SteelCloud’s efforts to get its own name and value recognized.

“We’ve developed a body of expertise and intellectual property that really were not being brought to market and identified with SteelCloud,” Hajost said.

SteelCloud partnered with Computer Associates on a number of previous U.S. government contracts. The company is attractive as a partner because of its solid technology, market share, and name recognition, Hajost said.

Computer Associates was interested in developing a hardened security appliance for customers in key market sectors such as government and financial services, according to Brad Meehan, director of product management for CA’s eTrust Threat Management Solution.

SteelCloud was attractive because of its experience deploying security appliances and its ability to deliver a scalable hardware platform at a reasonable price, Meehan said.

The SteelCloud AVG appliances will be available in July and followed by a family of intrusion detection system (IDS) appliances that run CA’s eTrust Intrusion Detection software and are slated for delivery in the third quarter, Meehan said.

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