Symantec, SonicWall Unveil New Security Gear

Symantec Gateway Security 5600 Series and SonicWall's Pro 4100 offer a wide variety of security functions.

Two new all-in-one security appliances from Symantec and SonicWall will offer customers of gigabit Ethernet performance a variety of security functions including firewall, antivirus protection, SSL VPN and even antispyware features.

SonicWall Inc. will announce the Pro 4100 on Tuesday. The 10-port, gigabit UTM (unified threat management) appliance offers a wide range of security features, including a "Clean VPN" function that spots malicious traffic in encrypted VPN sessions. The news follows an announcement on Monday from Symantec Corp., which unveiled Symantec Gateway Security 5600 Series, a new line of security appliances that can scale up to 3 Gbps of throughput suitable for campus-sized networks.

The Pro 4100 appliance from SonicWall will sell for US $6,995 and is a high-speed gateway with built-in antivirus, antispyware, antispam, intrusion prevention, VPN and secure wireless LAN features, said Jon Kuhn, director of product management at SonicWall of Sunnyvale, Calif.

The high number of gigabit ports is designed to support organizations with internal segmentation and a large number of applications that need high-speed Internet access and a port density, SonicWall said. As opposed to just putting a "brick wall" between corporate networks and the Internet, the 4100 is designed to spot threats originating inside corporate networks, or over wireless network segments, as well as those from the public Internet, Kuhn said.

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For example, the Clean VPN feature inspects connections from mobile users and branch offices for malicious code and vulnerabilities.

The idea is to create a "trusted network" across both wired and wireless networks, SonicWall said. Symantecs new 5600 series of appliances is also designed to spot blended threats that threaten networks using a variety of methods.

In addition to antispam and antivirus features, the device has comes with a full-inspection firewall, intrusion prevention, intrusion detection, and both clientless SSL (secure sockets layer) and IPSec VPN connections, said Michele Araujo, senior product manager at Symantec.

The appliances use Symantecs DDR (Dynamic Document Review) technology that allows administrators to define sensitive words and word relationships. Employees attempting to access content with those words can be blocked, Symantec said.

The 5600 Series is an addition to the companys Gateway Security product family. Customers using existing Symantec Gateway Security 5400 series appliances and Symantec Clientless VPN Gateway 4400 Series can get the 5600 series features with an upgrade to the Symantec Gateway Security Version 3.0 software, Symantec said.

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Unified threat management appliances have become very popular with enterprise IT managers in recent years, said Charles Kolodgy, an analyst at IDC.

Organizations bought about $330 million worth of UTM gear in 2004, up from about $100 million in 2003. That figure might double again in 2005, to $600 million based on IDC figures, Kolodgy said.

While companies advertise the speed of their UTM devices, Kolodgy warns that throughput ratings are typically based on configurations with the firewall and intrusion detection features enabled. Turning on more of the security features, such as antivirus or VPN on, will slow performance considerably, he said.

Still, companies commonly buy multiple UTM devices and activate only one or two security features on each, with one or more backup devices that have more functions enabled and can be used for failover and for load balancing.

Such configurations can cut purchasing from six or more devices to just four, Kolodgy said.

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