NetScreen and Trend Micro tie AV knot

Firewall maker NetScreen Technologies announced on Wednesday a joint development agreement to integrate its full appliance suite with Trend Micro’s anti-virus and content inspection technology in the latter half of this year.

The enhanced technology commitment will allow the parties to create security gateways featuring combined anti-virus, firewall, VPN, and IPS (intrusion prevention systems) characteristics on a single management platform, said Robert Thomas, president and CEO of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based NetScreen.

To kick off the unorthodox marriage, NetScreen took the covers off NetScreen-5GT on Wednesday. The new low-end appliance is designed to offer remote users and telecommuters the full gambit of integrated VPN and IPS features. The AV component upgrade will become available later this year for an additional fee, according to NetScreen officials.

NetScreen-5GT offers 75 Mbps firewall throughput, 20 Mbps 3DES VPN performance, and a management console. It also supports as many as 10 IPSec VPN tunnels and 2,000 sessions.

“We’re seeing strong requirement from our customers to make sure there is anti-virus integrated into their firewall,” Thomas said. “[The partnership] is a good opportunity for us -- a company that would never have developed a best-of-breed anti-virus solution.”

Eric Ogren, a senior analyst at Boston-based Yankee Group, said efforts are underway across the security landscape to inject content inspection and packet filtering capabilities directly into network architecture for simplified management and security controls.

“If you filter anti-virus as a network appliance, your risk gets shortened and [you have less] dependency to keep desktop anti-virus up to date. Also, service providers can start managing [combined AV, firewall, VPN] and put this device at the edge of customers’ environments,” Ogren said.

This is evidenced by offerings such as Symantec’s Managed Gateway Security Services, which integrates firewall with AV; security vendor Fortinet’s Fortigate product; and similar initiatives by SonicWall and WatchGuard, which lack AV on the firewall but tie functionality from the desktop to the firewall, he added.

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