NAI Making Major Shift in Strategy

Network Associates on Monday will unveil its enterprisewide intrusion protection strategy, a strategy based on the concepts of both host and network-based intrusion protection.

Network Associates Inc. on Monday will unveil the details of its enterprisewide intrusion protection strategy, including the rollout of a new product. The new strategy relies heavily on technologies and products that the company acquired through its recent acquisitions and is based on the concepts of both host and network-based intrusion protection.

This new plan represents a major strategic shift for NAI, a company that has relied upon its anti-virus products for most of its revenue in the past. NAI officials stress that the company is not getting out of the AV market, but is instead combining its AV technology with a number of others to form a more complete protection platform.

"Security vendors for years—and I blame Network Associates as much as anyone—have built point solutions that protect a certain portion of the network, and they havent integrated very well," said Ryan McGee, director of product marketing for systems security solutions at NAI, based in Santa Clara, Calif.

The first new product to emerge from the new plan will be McAfee Entercept Desktop, which will be available in November. The application is designed to block malicious behavior on the desktop before it can affect the security of the system. It uses a mixture of behavior-based and signature-based detection to identify unwanted processes.


The product primarily is based on technology developed by Entercept Security Technologies, which NAI purchased earlier this year. But it also includes desktop firewall and anti-virus functionality from some of the other McAfee products.

The desktop solution will be managed initially by the McAfee Entercept Management System, which handles policies and configuration changes. But the company plans to integrate the new solution with its ePolicy Orchestrator console by the end of next year and eliminate the need for redundant management systems, said McGee.

By the middle of 2004 NAI will release new versions of three of its products, which will gain new intrusion protection capabilities. VirusScan will get some firewall functionality, as will Entercept for Desktops and Servers. Also at that time, ePO will begin to take some input from Entercept for Desktops in preparation for phasing out the older console and will gain the ability to listen passively on networks to detect new devices and check their security configurations. In addition, NAI plans to partner with some VPN, router and switch manufacturers to enable that functionality for those devices.

The end goal is to combine all of the various agents used by McAfees products into one bundle that will be able to handle a wide variety of tasks, McGee said.

"Theres too much reliability at stake to have that many technologies on one server," McGee said.

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