NetScreen eases network admin with Global Pro

With an eye on reducing the time and costs associated with administering large, geographically-dispersed, remote networks, NetScreen Technologies Inc. Monday announced a new version of its Global PRO network management system. NetScreen also took the wraps off Global PRO Express, a feature scaled-back version of Global PRO, targeted at smaller enterprises.

Aimed at carriers and large enterprises, Global PRO is a combination hardware and software system, running NetScreen software preloaded on a preconfigured Sun Microsystems Inc. Netra server, that administers NetScreen VPNs (virtual private networks) and other network devices. Virtual private networks are a way for remote workers to connect to corporate networks over the public Internet using a secure path, just as if they were on the local network.

The new version of Global PRO, version 3.0, allows administrators to manage VPNs and policies in groups, offers easy policy creation and management, network visualization, threat analysis and historical-reporting capabilities. Though VPNs are typically managed on a per-site basis, the new version of Global PRO offers a Policy Manager that will allow administrators to collect VPN sites into groups, thus allowing policy changes to made to the group, rather than to each individual site. This will cut the time and complexity of administering the networks, NetScreen said.

Using Policy Manager, a policy change can be made once and pushed out to all VPN devices affected, rather than needing to apply the policy change to each device individually, the company said. Policy Manager also offers administrators the ability to build VPNs, add devices, deploy rules and create policies through a simple graphical interface.

Working with the Global PRO hardware is a data collector system that hooks into an Oracle Corp. database to allow for deeper reporting and monitoring, the company said. Using the combined systems, security events are able to be viewed and aggregated, so that 500 SYN attacks against a particular section of the network will not trigger 500 separate incident notices, but will rather alert administrators to one SYN attack launched 500 times, the company said. Both the data collector and database are separate purchases. Data collected in this method also allows for deeper, historical reporting about the network and security incidents, NetScreen said.

Global PRO also offers a new network visualization tool to allow administrators to get a global view of the topology of their VPN network.

Global PRO, which can manage up to 10,000 devices, starts at US$19,995 for a 100-device license or $49,995 for 1,000 devices. Additional devices can be added in groups of 1,000 for $12,000. The system is available worldwide on Nov. 26.

Global PRO Express, the lower-end version of the system, offers the same features as Global PRO, but lacks the ability to mesh with the data collector server and Oracle database and can support up to 100 devices. Global PRO Express will also be available worldwide on Nov. 26 and will cost $5,995 for a 25-device license and $14,995 for 100 devices.

Also announced Monday was version 6.0 of the NetScreen Remote VPN client. The 6.0 client allows VPN policies to be attached to usernames, rather than particular clients, so as to let policies travel with their user, ensuring uniform policy-compliance no matter where a user is, NetScreen said. Also new with this version is a feature that pushes a user's VPN policy down to their computer at log-on, rather than having it reside on the client at all times. This will increase security as the policies and ability to log on to the corporate network will only be granted at authentication, rather than being constantly present, the company said.

NetScreen Remote 6.0 is set to ship on Jan. 15 at a price of $995 for a 10-user license or $1,995 for 1,000 users.

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