Networking giant Nortel on May 22 unveiled a new applications switch that comes pre-loaded with Symantecs intrusion detection software.
Labeled as the Nortel Application Switch with Symantec Intelligent Network Protection, the network hardware aims to offer comprehensive protection for corporate systems on an infrastructure level. Nortel officials said that the introduction of the defensive-minded switch is emblematic of the continued convergence between the security and networking sectors.
The networking hardware is the result of a years work in research and development between the two companies focused on helping customers, including ISPs and other carriers, inject additional protective measures into their networks.
Executives from the two companies said that such partnerships could become more prevalent across the networking and security markets as enterprises demand that different vendors technologies are more efficiently integrated.
"Customers tell us that while they like to deploy a dedicated appliance to protect applications, they want the same level of security expertise embedded right into the network," said Sandeep Kumar, director of product management in Symantecs Network Security Solutions Group. "Convergence is happening on a number of fronts, but more importantly, security is no longer considered an afterthought; thats why were seeing that integration."
The Symantec technologies included in the Nortel switch include the companys threat detection and content filtering engine and its automated LiveUpdate applications service, which promises to keep the device prepared for newly emerging attacks. Company officials said that the product includes both exploit-based and vulnerability-oriented blocking tools, which aim to help stop emerging threats before they appear in the wild.
Nortel said the switch being offered with the Symantec technology is its Layer 4-7 device, formerly known as the Alteon, which can be used in a wide range of purposes including load balancing and applications acceleration. The switches are most frequently installed to provide high-availability between servers and already offered self-monitoring properties for helping administrators identify security issues.
Adding Symantecs technology on the network level is particularly important for stopping internal threats, company officials said.
"These applications switches typically sit in the data center, where companies have traditionally considered themselves safe, but over the years weve learned that threats can come from anyplace," said Dan Schrader, director of product marketing for application switches and switched firewalls at Nortel. "Were not trying to reinvent the wheel here—adding the ability to help companies get their hands on the latest security updates via Symantec helps customers respond faster, which benefits everyone."
The companies said the joint product will reach the market sometime in June 2006, with Nortels installed base serving as their initial target market.
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