TextWhale Communications said on Monday that it is partnering with Microsoft Corp. to combine Microsofts Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server with Whales Intelligent Application Gateway.
The deal, which is the first of its kind for Microsoft, will combine Whales SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) VPN technology with Microsofts IP Sec VPN, and put the ISA technology on a secure hardware appliance, according to interviews with executives from both companies.
The Whale Intelligent Application Gateway is a security appliance for the network perimeter that can be deployed in the enterprise network DMZ or on a LAN. The product can manage remote access sessions, filter outbound communications from the network and also do endpoint security checking and application-layer security scans, according to Roger Pilc [CQ], CEO of Whale Communications.
New versions of the Whale Intelligent Application Gateway will include ISA Server 2004 on a hardened Windows Server 2003 platform and will be targeted at large and mid-tier enterprises, said Pilc.
For Microsoft, the deal provides an answer to companies that wanted to take advantage of popular SSL VPN technology to do remote access, said Marcus Schmidt [CQ], a senior product manager in Microsofts Security Business and Technology Unit.
“We heard from our customers that ISA (Server) was a great IPSec solution, but that they also wanted SSL VPN. If they can get that all from one vendor and not have to pick and choose, thats great,” he said.
Adding ISA Server to the Whale platform also makes it easier to integrate the appliance with Microsofts Active Directory user directory and Exchange e-mail server, Schmidt said.
Microsoft was also interested in getting the ISA software onto a dedicated remote access hardware appliance, he said.
Other security companies use the ISA technology under OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) agreements in all-in-one Unified Threat Management (or UTM) appliances, but the deal with Whale is the first to combine ISA with an SSL-VPN appliance, said Schmidt.
“The world is moving to hardware, so its great for us to have partners that can offer hardware,” he said.
Whale will be responsible for brining the Intelligent Application Gateway with ISA Server to market and will use both its direct sales force and channel part-ners to do so. The products price starts at US $15,000 and increases based on the number of users and applications that a company is protecting.
Regis University in Colorado Springs, Colorado will be evaluating the new version of Intelligent Application Gateway with ISA Server in January, said Peter Greco [CQ], CIO at Regis.
The school already uses Whales product to manage access for around 16,000 students and 1,200 faculty members through a Web-based portal. The school also uses ISA Servers IPSec feature to manage access to an ERP (enter-prise resource planning) application that manages student information. The unified IPSec and SSL VPN features on the Whale appliance will allow the school manage remote access from a single device, Greco said.