Check Point unifies security management

Check Point Software Technologies has announced tools designed to support unified management of its network perimeter, intrusion-detection and Web application security devices.

As part of its NGX Technology Platform initiative, Check Point will also release an upgraded version of its flagship VPN-1 firewall and virtual private network technology featuring support for the unified management capability.

By the end of the month, the vendor plans to similarly enable more than 20 of its other products, said Dave Burton, Check Point's director of product management. The upgrades will be available at no extra cost to current users.

The unified management software taps into growing user demands for more easily administered security products, Burton said, adding that the many point products can't be managed efficiently on an individual basis. The software will let users deploy and manage Check Point's products via a single Web-based administrative console, he said.

Cisco Systems this month announced a line of multifunction security appliances that addresses similar issues. Unlike Check Point's new software, though, Cisco's appliances integrate various security functions into the same box.

The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services has been beta-testing Check Point's unified management technology and plans to use it to administer about 400 of the vendor's VPN devices that are due to be installed soon.

"The new management interface will let me configure all my edge devices from one location," said Victor Fooks, the agency's chief network officer. "It helps me with management and maintenance."

Ryan Barnds, director of technology at Tiger Management, a New York-based hedge fund, said the consolidation of security management functions should help users reduce the costs associated with deploying and managing point products.

Tiger has 20 site-to-site VPNs and expects to increase that number to about 80 such networks over the next few months. "Consolidating the management of these boxes is critical," Barnds said.

But Fooks said that one area Check Point needs to address is the lack of visibility into the number of end users who access the network through a managed VPN appliance. Because the central management console doesn't provide that information, it can be difficult to know if license terms are being exceeded, he added.

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