Traditionally, managed security offerings have amounted to little more than a managed firewall or VPN. But as companies in all industries demand a wider variety of more useful and innovative services as a way to cut costs and improve security, outsourcers are beginning to respond.
Vendors such as Foundstone Inc., Aventail Corp. and Ubizen Inc. are rolling out managed security services that customers say give them much greater flexibility and insight into their networks.
Foundstone, of Irvine, Calif., this week will unveil its FoundScan Enterprise MSS, which provides on- demand vulnerability and threat assessment. Not for the faint of wallet, FoundScan is aimed squarely at the large-enterprise market and will cost between $5,000 and $20,000 per month on an annual subscription basis.
The services centerpiece is a Web portal from which customers can view reports about network scans. Foundstone is best known for its high-end security consulting services, and FoundScan was designed to provide the same kind of in-depth analysis and intelligence as an on-site consultant, said David Cole, director of managed security services at Foundstone.
"We tried to make it as close to an in-person security assessment as possible," Cole said. "In some respects, its better because most companies only do audits once or twice a year, and youll miss a lot of vulnerabilities in the interim."
When a new vulnerability is found during a scan, the system automatically sends an e-mail alert to the administrator. The subscription also provides access to intelligence reports on new threats, as well as detailed reports of the networks vulnerability level at a given point.
Aventail, meanwhile, is rolling out Version 2.0 of its Aventail.Net managed services platform. The service comprises several elements, but the most notable changes have been made to the managed VPN (virtual private network) service.
Aventails VPN relies on SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption instead of the standard IP Security protocol and enables users to access their applications from any machine, including airport kiosks or PCs at client sites, for example. To maintain security in such situations, the Seattle company has added a feature in the new version that clears the systems cache after a set period of time.
"We make money when were out on client sites, and there are very few VPNs that allow us to work efficiently at those sites," said Larry Quinlan, CIO of Deloitte Consulting, a unit of New York-based Deloitte & Touche LLP. "Its a competitive issue for us. We get industrial-strength equipment, and they manage it and update it."
Aventails service, which also includes remote management and monitoring, enrollment and provisioning, and management of user directories, is hosted on an integrated box that serves as a proxy outside the customers network.
Ubizen, of Reston, Va., is rolling out a new version of its OnlineGuardian managed security service. The updated release, launched last week, provides real-time performance graphing and reporting for each security device, as well as in-depth analyses of historical patterns and trends for each device.
Version 2.0 also allows customers to request policy changes via a Web portal for any device under management.