Alcatel-Lucent Advances Its Security Strategy

A new network appliance targets the healthcare industry and other heavily regulated markets.

Alcatel-Lucent's security strategy took another step forward Dec. 10 with the release of a new appliance aimed at protecting data and easing the strains of regulatory compliance through policy enforcement and access management, a move that will help such heavily regulated sectors as healthcare.

The company's OmniAccess 8550 Web Services Gateway takes on three key elements of security: data encryption, stateful policy enforcement on content and controlled information access enterprise-wide via a single user credential.

The information access policies can be applied directly to an individual, group of individuals based upon roles or the specific Web service being accessed, said Clifford Grossner, head of product management and marketing for Alcatel-Lucent Ventures/Bell Labs. In a case where users have multiple identities, the device utilizes one as the master identity, which all policy decisions refer to in order to ensure consistency across the organization, Grossner said.

"Data-leak prevention is assured because the [device] is a secure proxy point securing all information flow within an organization's network [as well as] information that will flow out to business partners," he said. "The 8550 WSG provides user-centric stateful policy to ensure that all sensitive data only flows into the right hands. In addition, a complete audit trail is maintaining of all data accessed or changed."

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The new offering is the latest move by Alcatel-Lucent to expand its security footprint around helping enterprises manage user access to data, applications and communications. Earlier this year, the company introduced OmniAccess 3500 Nonstop Laptop Guardian, a laptop security and management system developed to secure, monitor, manage and locate a mobile computer anywhere, even when it's shut off.

Yankee Group analyst Andrew Jaquith said the security play is a natural extension of Alcatel-Lucent's product strategy. But in the case of SOA (service oriented architecture), the company needs to surround the product with an ecosystem of integrators and consultants who can help customers install, integrate and build on the platform.

"Fortunately, system integrators appear to be their primary go-to-market outlet," he said. "To be credible, A-L's claims need to be quantifiable and defensible. That's especially important for a new entrant like Alcatel-Lucent, because they aren't known as a security player. [They need] to simplify their message, focus on speeds, feeds and costs, tighten the vertical market focus-go for the jugular."

The company, Grossner said, is not trying to be everything to everybody when it comes to security, instead opting for a more narrow focus.

"The OmniAccess 8550 Web Services Gateway positions Alcatel-Lucent for growth," said Michel Emelianoff, vice president of Enterprise Security activities at Alcatel-Lucent, in a statement. "The market is at an inflection point, the product addresses real enterprise pain points and the offering is unique in its ability to integrate context-based application and information security inside and outside the network."

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