Threat moves from network to application layer

With the shift in the perimeter of the enterprise, traditional firewall vendors such as Check Point Software Technologies are changing direction and broadening their product focus.

During a visit to Australia last month Check Point Software global VP Jerry Ungerman admitted the firewall market is reaching saturation point and with the emergence of wireless the perimeter of an enterprise has changed.

"Three years ago the perimeter was well-defined; now nobody knows where it is any more," Ungerman said.

"Also, the threat has moved from the network layer to the application layer, especially with increased mobility and the emergence of handheld devices."

This year Check Point has moved into internal security and expanded its network offerings with the acquisition of Zone Labs which was finalised this month.

Ungerman said Zone Labs' Integrity product line complements Check Point's vision and allows the company to offer end-to-end Internet security.

To compete with Cisco, Enterasys and Juniper, the company had to bolster its product range for internal security, the desktop and Web by consolidating best of breed technology.

Ungerman said the company is planning to launch a Web security solution to protect portals next month.

"Nobody has this level of integration and such a broad product range from a single vendor; currently you may need six point products to secure the portal we are bringing out a single product," he said.

In the past week product announcements from three security companies underscore the growing interest in so-called "end point" security products that protect corporate networks from infections introduced by mobile or remote employees.

Symantec, Configuresoft and StillSecure are all planning to announce new products or product updates this week to secure mobile computers and enforce security policies on remote machines that are trying to connect to corporate networks.

These vendors are just the latest to offer a technology fix for companies plagued by worms and viruses that jump from mobile computers and home offices onto corporate networks.

For example, Symantec Client Security Version 2.0 is an integrated antivirus, firewall and intrusion prevention product that protects machines from viruses and other unauthorized intrusions and introduces a number of new features.

A location-awareness feature will adjust client security settings depending on location, tightening defences if a machine is accessing the Internet through an unprotected wireless "hot spot," and loosening them when the device is connected behind a network firewall, said Kevin Murray, director of product marketing at Symantec.

An outbound e-mail worm blocker in Client Security 2.0 looks for and stops suspicious outbound e-mail activity that might indicate an infection by a mass mailing worm such as Mydoom or Netsky, Symantec said.

Also, a VPN Compliancy Check feature provides an API that allows devices running Client Security 2.0 to interact with firewalls by Symantec partners such as Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. and Nortel Networks.

- with Paul Roberts

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