NAI, Check Point to Offer All-in-One Security Appliance

Appliance will include firewall, content filtering and VPN functionality as well as NAI's McAfee VirusScan ASaP online anti-virus protection.

Two of the largest security vendors in the industry are getting together to offer an all-in-one security appliance, and in so doing will join what is already a very crowded market segment.

Network Associates Inc. and Check Point Software Technologies Inc. on Monday announced a new partnership under which NAI will contribute some of its anti-virus technology to an existing Check Point appliance. The two companies plan to develop and market a new solution that will be based on Check Points Safe@Office appliance, which is targeted at the small business market. The new solution will include firewall, content filtering and VPN functionality as well as NAIs McAfee VirusScan ASaP online anti-virus protection.

This agreement is part of a new partner program built around NAIs new intrusion prevention strategy. Other new partners include Counterpane Internet Security Inc., ArcSight Inc., Guardent Inc. and NetForensics Inc.

NAI, based in Santa Clara, Calif., has a sizeable consumer anti-virus business, but it has historically concentrated most of its enterprise sales efforts on the high end of the market, with some SMB products mixed in as well. Check Point, in Redwood City, Calif., until very recently, homed in exclusively on the large enterprises. But its Safe@Office appliances and other efforts have brought it within reach of smaller businesses.

The NAI-Check Point appliance will face myriad competitors. Everyone from Symantec Corp. and Internet Security Systems Inc. to smaller players such as Crossbeam Systems Inc., has a multi-function security appliance on the market. But, observers say the new partnership brings some unique qualities to the game.

"You stop viruses at the perimeter, and Check Point has a big presence there," said analyst Pete Lindstrom, research director at Spire Security LLC in Malvern, Pa. "This positioning is because of a big upsurge in interest in the SMB market. It makes sense. I think Network Associates is back in the game."

The new solution, which both companies plan to market, is slated for availability in early 2004.