VPN defences enhanced

In the wake of the last month’s terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a growing mood of wariness is spurring many enterprises to push up deadlines for security initiatives. At this week’s ISPcon trade show in Las Vegas, vendors are expected to rise to the challenge by bringing advanced security products to market.

“We are thinking about everything and looking at everything with a new perspective; it’s a whole new world after Sept. 11,” said Mark Yankowskas, IT director at Atlanta-based Rockwood Specialties Inc., a group of specialty chemical companies. “Everybody has a new sense of urgency to make sure their network and business is secure. Everyone is putting in a plan to check and recheck how they’re doing business in the world of Internet access.”

SSH Communications Security Corp., of Palo Alto, Calif., will unveil a VPN solution at the ISPcon show that promises to reduce the deployment and management hassles typically associated with VPNs. The new system establishes VPN links that can be centrally managed from one location, enabling service providers and enterprises to quickly roll out new secure services. A Central Manager Web interface lets network operators view their remote access clients and push upgrades to clients and gateways to respond to new viruses. When the Central Manager is installed, no on-site configuration is necessary, company officials said.

Other vendors are also getting in on the act. In the service provider and large enterprise market, another big player in the security arena, Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. in Redwood City, Calif., will launch its Provider-1 Next Generation solution, which is designed to allow companies to distribute resilient management infrastructures across large networks.

The strategy “effectively moves [security management] away from an individual server and into the Internet cloud,” said Carol Stone, Check Point’s vice-president of worldwide marketing, in a statement.

Striving for reliability and redundancy, Check Point designed its Provider-1 management servers to automatically sync data between customer and administrator machines. Each server works as a back-up to other servers, eliminating the possibility of single points of failure.

Check Point also announced support for the OPSEC (Open Platform for Security) standard in its VPN-1/FireWall-1 Next Generation solution, designed to provide best-of-breed security. OPSEC will be used to improve management integration and client security in Check Point’s offering.

Meanwhile, Symantec Corp., the security giant in Cupertino, Calif., will roll out its Firewall/VPN 100, 200, and 200R devices for LANs in remote offices and small companies. As is SSH’s VPN tool, Symantec’s equipment is designed for ease of use.

Each device comes in a single unit and can be deployed in minutes, thanks to a 10/100Mbps auto-sensing network switch, the company said. As can the SSH solution, Symantec’s firewall/VPN devices can be centrally managed via the Internet. They also feature high availability via automatic dial-up back-up and multiple ISP ports in the 200 model that balance loads across the network.

Also, Zone Labs Inc., based in San Francisco, announced Version 3.0 of ZoneAlarm and ZoneAlarm Pro desktop security software, which offer stronger security and improved user interfaces by identifying all components of an application, thus protecting against malicious code disguised as trusted applications. The Pro version comes with ad- and cookie-blocking features, support for wired and wireless LAN environments, and a feature that blocks potentially damaging active content, such as JavaScript and ActiveX controls.

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