Cisco upgrades security management suite

Cisco Systems Inc. Wednesday introduced CiscoWorks VPN/Security Management Solution (VMS) 2.0, an updated version of its suite of applications for managing VPNs (virtual private networks) and other security features available on Cisco networks.

VMS includes Cisco Secure Policy Manager (CSPM), Cisco VPN Monitor and Cisco Resource Manager Essentials (RME), as well as tools to monitor Cisco IDS (Intrusion Detection System) software for protecting networks and servers. All the applications are Web-based, so administrators can monitor network and system security from a browser.

Version 2.0 includes an improved Cisco VPN Monitor that gives a dashboard view of all VPN resources on the network and supports three additional devices, the Cisco 1700, 2600 and 3600 routers, said Bob Yee, product manager for VMS. It lets managers monitor statistics such as the number of tunnels and number of sessions active in a corporate VPN.

"You can do quite a bit of drill-down to determine what's happening with your firewalls," Yee said.

CSPM also has been updated with a new GUI (graphical user interface) that is easier to use, partly because it is organized according to tasks, he said.

The latest version also extends intrusion detection from networks to servers. A network-based IDS included in VMS 1.0 used software agents in Cisco network devices, along with a management console, to detect and prevent worm attacks, denial of service attacks and other threats to the network. For version 2.0 of VMS, Cisco added the IDS Host Sensor, which detects and prevents attacks against servers.

VMS was first introduced in March to give administrators an integrated set of tools for managing security on Cisco networks. It includes software for configuring, monitoring and troubleshooting virtual private networks, firewalls and intrusion detection. The suite works as part of CiscoWorks2000, Cisco's platform for infrastructure management.

VMS 2.0 is available now worldwide in Microsoft Corp. Windows and Sun Microsystems Inc. Solaris versions, priced starting at US$7,995.

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