Nortel moves on security

In what was a busy December for Nortel Networks, the company released a set of new security solutions and announced a partnership with security vendor Symantec Corp.

“What really drew us to Symantec is their depth of knowledge on [security] threats and the engines they have to block those threats,” said Rod Wallace, director of network security for Nortel. “We are going to combine the best of the top security company with the best of the top networking company (Nortel).”

One of these different performance points is the development of a high performance security engine that marries Nortel’s deep packet inspection capablitiies and Symantec’s virus live update service. This would prevent dangerous attacks before they hit a large enterprise’s network, while not slowing down performance.

“Attackers have gotten more sophisticated. They have gone deeper into the data traffic, where it is harder to find them,” said Pat Patterson, marketing lead for security and routing for the enterprise business at Nortel.

“They are spread across traffic and hide their attacks, as if they looked like standard Web browsing traffic. To be able to ferret out those attacks, you have to use this type of deep packet inspection that can really dig down into the traffic streams.”

He added that with the high performance security engine, attacks such as worm transmissions are able to be blocked more quickly and more efficiently, thus adding up to huge cost savings.

Patterson added that the prototype has already been tested internally at Nortel. The company expects it to be available for purchase early this year to enterprise companies and service providers. According to Matthew Kovar, Yankee Group business & IT Services vice-president in Boston, this partnership is a progessive move for Nortel.

“They need to have a close partnership with security intelligence [and] real time threat analysis from a world class provider,” he explained. “Symantec really brings that to the plate” and offers Nortel something that Nortel shouldn’t be developing itself. Another aspect of the partnership will see Nortel take Symantec’s technology to help service providers protect their networks and enable them to offer hosted security. He added that the partnership with Symantec is just one of many that Nortel has on its horizon in order to provide better security to networks.

Nortel also announced in December some new security solutions to provide better remote secure access for any device, anywhere, anytime. One such solution resulted from Nortel combining its IPsec and SSL VPN portofolios into one universal access VPN gateway platform called Nortel VPN Gateaway 3070. This platform, as well as its previously available Nortel VPN Gateway 3050, will have the latest release of VPN Gateway release 5.0.

What is new is its capability to support managed services for SSL VPN and IPsec in one cohesive device, according to the company. It also supports secure mobile VPN capabilities to allow secure mobile access from a range of devices and access media. There is also an end point security capability for VPN devices that authenticates the person coming in from remote access and ensures that they have the latest versions of virus definitions or have a personal firewall running on their computer before granting them access to the network.

Another solution introduced was a threat protection system that has intrusion detection and protection capabilities. “We have to come up with different security schemes to protect the security of the network while still allowing access to be very flexible and mobile,” Patterson said.

The threat protection system is available during the first week of January 2005. The VPN Gateway release 5.0 is available now to anyone who has the existing VPN gateways 3050. The 3070 version will be shipped next month.

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