Cisco Upgrades Security, VPN Lineups

Cisco is launching a series of new and enhanced security management and virtual private network offerings.

Cisco Systems Inc. on Monday will launch a series of new and enhanced security management and virtual private network offerings.

Among the new offerings is the Cisco IP Solutions Center V 3.0, which allows users to set up common configurations for multiple VPN devices from a central location and push those out to remote sites. The tool also allows the VPN tunnels to be pushed out from a central location to remote locations, according to early user Carol Henson, director of IT for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, in St. Louis.

The USDA Rural Development organization is using the IP Solutions Center V 3.0 as part of a broad-scale rollout of 2,500 VPNs to field offices, replacing more costly and static frame relay links.

IP Solutions Center V 3.0 also provides an audit trail function. "It ensures every VPN we install for the 2,500 offices will be installed the same way. If we have to make a change, we can make it within the VPN and use [Cisco Intelligent Engine 2100 Series] to keep them all in sync," said Henson.

The combination of the IP Solutions Center and IE 2100 series, which provides automated deployment and management of network devices, allows the USDA to bring online 30 VPNs per day. The project, which began in April, will be completed in August, Henson said.

Cisco also next week will introduce new releases of its Cisco Security Device Manager, CiscoWorks VPN Management Solution and CiscoWorks Security Information Management Solution, as well as a new intrusion-detection system network module, Henson said.

The USDA had to upgrade its frame relay network in response to increased traffic generated as a result of the federal governments paperwork elimination act and subsequent movement of applications to the Web. "We moved aggressively in putting our business applications on the Web where it made sense," Henson said. That included applying for farm or single-family home loans, farm price support loans, and crop assistance. "We really deal with the farmer/producer on quality of the land, what crops should they plan, what blights could be coming. Our rural customers want services where they are—on their land," she said.

The USDAs new network, based on about 3,000 Cisco 2651 access routers, is also being used to pilot a mobile satellite system that uses GPS technology to measure the amount of land in a farmers fields. "It used to take more than a day for the farmers to measure their fields. Now we can give the farmer new crop plans in less than an hour. The network has totally changed the way we can deliver our services in rural America," she said.

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