SAN FRANCISCO—In a move designed to announce the companys presence as a full-scale security vendor, Internet Security Systems Inc. on Monday will unveil a new line of appliances that company executives believe will eventually obviate the need for numerous discrete servers and applications to protect networks.
The roll out of the Proventia appliances at the RSA Conference here is ISS largest product introduction in some time and signals a change in direction for the company. Until now, ISS has been strictly a software vendor, relying on sales of its popular RealSecure IDS and other applications. Although ISS has formed partnerships with several hardware vendors—most notably Nokia Inc. and Crossbeam Systems Inc.—it has never built its own boxes.
“Were putting a stake in the ground. We can detect and block malicious traffic without the users intervention,” said a spokesman at ISS, based in Atlanta.
The Proventia series is in fact three distinct lines of appliances: the A, B and C series. The A series is the most basic and will be the first to hit the market. All four A series boxes have intrusion protection capabilities, but from there the features vary widely. The entry-level A201 operates at 200 Mbps and protects a single network segment. The A604, A1204 and A1204F all have load–balancing capabilities, full duplex support, port aggregation and higher speeds, up to 1200 Mbps on the high end.
But the software at the core of system is the same throughout the lines. The appliances are based on the RealSecure code and combine management capabilities such as remote control and event correlation with advanced protection measures, including stateful protocol decoding and analysis and detection of known and unknown exploits.
The main difference in the B series boxes, aside from the jump to 2000 Mbps, is the inclusion of denial-of-service protection and inline network protection.
The C series boxes are the ones that ISS officials believe will change the way that enterprises buy security software and hardware. All of the C series appliances will include a stateful packet filter firewall, a VPN gateway, spam and content filters, gateway anti-virus protection and a DHCP server.
Over time, ISS hopes customers will stop buying separate AV software, firewalls and IDS and begin installing its all-in-one boxes. This is not a new idea by any means. Numerous companies, including Symantec Corp. and Crossbeam, are pursuing similar strategies, albeit with somewhat different appliances.
However, ISS executives say theyre relying on the companys technology and intelligence from its X-Force research team to win customers over.
“The market has shown its not really interested in putting a bunch of disparate technologies into an appliance and calling it unified security,” an ISS spokesman said.
The A201 and A604 are both available now, starting at $9,995. The B series will hit the market in the third quarter and the C series will appear in the fourth quarter.
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