Network Chemistry rolls out notebook security software

Network Chemistry's new security software allows IT managers to enforce wireless security practices.

Wireless security seems like an elusive goal with the proliferation of Wi-Fi hot spots and broadband cellular connections, but a new product from Network Chemistry is designed to let corporations enforce security policies for their traveling users.

Network Chemistry released RFprotect Endpoint Monday, which allows IT managers to enforce wireless connection policies to high-speed networks such as Wi-Fi, EV-DO (Evolution - Data Only) and HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access), said Brian de Haaff, vice president of product management and marketing, in an interview Monday.

Notebook PCs are the fastest growing segment of the PC market, as workers increasingly untie themselves from desktop LAN connections and work remotely from office conference rooms, neighborhood coffee shops or airport waiting lounges. But that freedom comes at a price, as many notebook users fail to properly configure their PCs to protect against wireless threats. The prospect of secure company financial information falling prey to wireless "sniffing" attacks is attracting interest in products such as RFprotect Endpoint, de Haaff said.

The software resides on a company's servers and individual notebooks use an agent running in the background that is transparent to the user, de Haaff said. IT managers can set policies restricting users to preapproved connection points, enforcing the use of VPN (virtual private network) software or denying connections to users who have failed to turn off ad-hoc networking to other wireless devices, he said.

RFprotect Endpoint enforces these policies without asking the user to approve the security settings, a feature requested by Network Chemistry's customers, de Haaff said. "Users always want connectivity over security," and RFprotect Endpoint takes that decision out of their hands, he said.

The software will be available in the first quarter of 2006. Pricing starts at US$29 per user, and scales downward based on the size of the deployment, de Haaff said.

Network Chemistry, based in California, also sells sensor networks that monitor a company's facilities for wireless threats, de Haaff said. The company has received funding from Incutel, the venture capital arm of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, he said.

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