Leading firewall and VPN (virtual private network) vendor Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. announced an expansion of its OPSEC security initiative Jan. 8, adding assessment tools to the framework.

OPSEC, or Open Platform for Security, is a framework that allows software makers to write their applications so that they will interoperate with Check Point’s VPN-1/Firewall-1 software. By doing this, administrators can create new security rules based on those applications for their VPNs and remote workers, and also administer both Check Point and third-party applications from the same management console. For instance, by using an antivirus application that is OPSEC-compliant, a rule could be created that grants a remote worker access to a corporate network only if the remote PC has the most up-to-date antivirus definitions.

Vendors can obtain the information on how to become OPSEC-compliant for free, but must pay a fee in order to be certified as compliant by Check Point.

The expansion of OPSEC announced Tuesday adds support for security assessment tools that check networks for security vulnerabilities such as misconfiguration, policy violations and out-of-date software, Check Point said. Support for security assessment tools will provide administrators using VPN-1/Firewall-1 with frequent, up-to-date information about security issues on their networks to enhance overall security, the company added.

Security assessment companies joining the new OPSEC initiative include Lumeta Corp., BindView Corp., Akaba Inc., eSec A/S, NetIQ Corp., Qualys Inc., Intranode, Vigilante.com Inc. and Veritect Inc.

OPSEC provides an important assurance to companies that have complex systems integration requirements as products under its aegis have been checked for interoperability, said Frank Prince, senior analyst in e-business infrastructure at Forrester Research Inc.

OPSEC “was an especially successful initiative, and continues to be a successful initiative, in those complex environments,” he said.

In other areas of the security market, however, where security products are sold as preintegrated appliances, OPSEC has less traction, he said.

Check Point Software, in Redwood City, Calif., can be reached at http://www.checkpoint.com. OPSEC information can be found at http://www.checkpoint.com/opsec.

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