Juniper, Microsoft to be among RSA Conference newsmakers

Annual security event borrowing a page from Black Hat, too

Juniper, IBM and Verizon will be among the big-name companies airing new products and services in the US this week at the RSA Conference, the annual security industry event that is expected to draw 17,000 attendees and 350 exhibitors.

Show organizers are aiming for an edgier event than in years past, taking a page from the annual Black Hat Conference and adding a track dedicated to the sorts of researchers known to rip the lid off security vulnerabilities. Virtualization security, network access control, data leakage prevention and protecting against Web 2.0-borne malware will be among hot topics for discussion. Top executives from EMC's RSA security division, CA, Symantec and IBM Internet Security Systems will deliver keynotes.

While IBM, Verizon and some others are keeping their news under wraps until April 8, Juniper revealed that it will air its next-generation intrusion-detection and intrusion-prevention appliance line, which some analysts say will put the company's offerings at the front of the pack of intrusion-prevention systems (IPS).

Juniper will look to generate lots of buzz with four new appliances -- the IDP 75, 250, 800 and 8200 -- that scale from 150Mbps to 10Gbps. The previous high-end Juniper appliance topped out at 1Gbps.

Jon Oltsik, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, says "a few others, TippingPoint, Internet Security Systems [now part of IBM] and McAfee," have gear to compete at those speeds. But he considers these more like a "security add-on" to prevent attacks, while Juniper's IDP devices are meant to work with other equipment for wider security management, such as network-access control.

Another factor is using IPS not just at the perimeter of the network but in the core, where speeds are usually higher, in enterprise and carrier networks.

HCR Manor Care, which has a data center in Ohio and uses Juniper's older 1100F appliance, anticipates migrating to the IDP 8200. "We have multiple 1100Fs inside the data center, but we need to be able to have higher speeds," says Craig Hulbert, senior network engineer for information services.

HCR uses the Juniper IPS to protect against attacks and to cordon off data according to three company-designated classifications -- public, restricted and confidential -- by using a Juniper profiling mechanism that helps segment data. "If anyone tries to go after unauthorized data, we treat that as an attack," Hulbert says.

Rajneesh Chopra, Juniper's director of product management, says the management console for the new appliance line will also support the older IDP 50, 200, 600 and 1100 devices so customers can mix and match. "You can take the policy you had with the older equipment and push it out to the new," he says. Juniper's new IDP line, which costs from US$8,000 to $70,000, supports 5 million simultaneous sessions at the high end.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has canceled its slate of demos and ship-date announcements around its Identity Lifecycle Manager 2.0 (ILM) software.

ILM is Microsoft's platform for identity synchronization, certificate and password management, and user provisioning. It was originally the company's meta-directory technology and was previously called Microsoft Identity Integration Server.

Microsoft is resetting the time table to hype ILM to this summer when it hosts its TechEd conference, according to sources. The software likely won't ship until the end of this year at the earliest.

Version 2.0 includes a number of user self-service features. It also includes a new delegation model and a business process framework. ILM 2.0 features a set of services that users and partners can tap to extend the server's functionality.

With ILM off the agenda, Microsoft is left to showcase Stirling, a product it doesn't plan to ship for more than a year. Stirling is a single console for all of Microsoft's Forefront security products. The software was unveiled last summer.

Microsoft said it will integrate desktop, server and network protection technologies such as antimalware, antispam, content filtering, messaging and collaboration systems and the network edge.

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