Cisco Boosts Device Security

Integrates features in routers, VPN products, SSL appliance.

Cisco Systems Inc. last week continued its efforts to integrate security functions across its product line with 12 offerings targeting a range of customers.

The integration of security functions with networking devices eases deployment and "reduces security administrative overhead," said Cisco user David Roessler, director of IS at Quay Corp., a contract electronics manufacturer, in Eatontown, N.J.

Toward that end, Cisco added a pair of low-end routers for SOHO (small office/home office) installations that include embedded VPN (virtual private network) acceleration. The routers, which start at $350, are part of the Cisco 800 Series and SOHO 90 Series secure broadband router lines. The VPN acceleration gives the routers 10 times the performance of existing Cisco products, according to Cisco officials in San Jose, Calif. Cisco also added plug-in VPN acceleration modules for its 2691, 3660 and 3700 midrange routers. The acceleration modules are intended to improve performance for voice- and video-over-IP networks.

Cisco extended similar support to its VPN products. A combination of new hardware acceleration and robust queuing mechanisms, along with redundancy features, make the combination possible.

On the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) front, Cisco introduced the Cisco SCA 11000 Series Secure Content Accelerator II, a new appliance that offloads SSL processing from back-end Web servers. It can process up to 800 SSL transactions per second.

As Quay looks to extend the services it offers customers by leveraging the public Internet, integrated security is key to drawing customers to those services, Roessler said. "The last question is always, How secure is it? This is a great way to present services to the customer base that are rock solid." Quay is evaluating the SSL appliance as a means to better manage SSL certificates, he said.

Also on tap in Ciscos security lineup is a configuration management appliance for data centers. The Cisco Hosting Solution Engine 1.7 can be used to configure services that end users are allowed to access on servers.

Cisco also enhanced the security features in its IOS Software with improved quality-of-service functions, on-demand meshing capability and IP Security failover support for improved voice availability over VPNs. Cisco also enhanced IOS ability to spot attacks.