AirDefense Beefs Up Reporting in Wireless Security System

The company's namesake WLAN appliance features a new reporting engine designed to ease compliance headaches.

AirDefense on Feb. 20 announced that it has released a new version of its enterprise wireless LAN security appliance with new reporting and monitoring capabilities.

According to the company, AirDefense Enterprise 7.2 improves managers abilities to see what their networks are doing, discover security threats, and to report on whats found. The new reporting capability includes the ability to create custom-formatted reports to deal with specific requirements including compliance with government and industry security standards.

The new AirDefense appliance includes the ability to perform real-time assessments of wireless network performance. It allows administrators to troubleshoot connection problems and interference issues from remote locations. Version 7.2 also includes an improved event manager, a new configuration manager and an improved user interface, company officials said.

"It is at the intersection of two of the hottest areas, wireless and security, and you add to that management," said Amit Sinha, chief technology officer of the Atlanta-based company. "We are in the business of making sure that wireless networks are secure and managed properly," he said.

"Weve added a completely new and powerful reporting engine," Sinha said. He noted that his customers were dealing with difficult compliance issues, and that the new reporting engine was designed to simplify their reporting headaches.

Sinha said that the second big change in version 7.2 is the Live RF module that the company developed with Motorola. "What people really want is to look at coverage and interference patterns in real time," Sinha said. He added that companies can use the building and office designs on the CAD files they have. "You can superimpose on that live coverage heat maps," he said.

Intelligent event management is a third critical area added to the new version, Sinha said. "IPS systems have been fraught with a lot of false positives. Weve reduced the false alarm level by a factor of 100. If you have only 30 minutes a week, what is the best use of the time?

"We list each event only once," Sinha said, "You can clearly identify high priority threats."

/zimages/4/28571.gifeWEEK Labs says AirDefenses new alliance with Trapeze Networks promises great things down the road, but the current wireless intrusion prevention system implementation born of the duo leaves much room for improvement. Click here to read the review.

"I think that one thing that really stands out is the reporting," said Rachna Ahlawat, an analyst at Gartner. "The number one criterion for customers is reporting. Theyve done a good job of giving different options of what they want to see and how they want to see it," she said. "Anyone who is buying this product is buying peace of mind. I should be able to see a health certificate showing that my network has been clean, and I should be able to turn in that report for compliance needs," Ahlawat said.

Ahlawat also said that AirDefense has done a good job in reducing the bandwidth requirements of its product, and she said that the new IPS (intrusion prevention system) capability is also something customers want. "Some people deploy wireless IPS for peace of mind, some for the reports and some on top of their wireless LAN. Their requirements can be very different," she said.

Sinha called the new version a "quantum jump" and said that some of his customers are already using version 7.2. He said commercial availability and pricing has yet to be decided, but he added that the company would announce the general availability date soon.

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Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...