Symantec unveils new firewall/VPN hardware

Symantec on Monday announced its new Firewall/VPN integrated-security product line, which comes in three models and is aimed at branch offices of large companies and at the small and medium-size business market.

The Symantec Firewall/VPN devices combine the in- and outbound traffic filtering and security of a firewall with the secure remote access capabilities of a VPN (virtual private network). A VPN grants remote users encrypted access to corporate computers over the public Internet.

The devices include IPsec security, autosensing 10/100M-bits per second Ethernet ports for in-office networks, remote administration, IP address sharing and optional modem backups for uninterrupted service, Symantec said. The appliances also come with support for English, French, German and Spanish (support for Japanese and Korean is forthcoming), intrusion detection capabilities to block port scans that can lead to attacks and, unlike many firewalls or VPNs, have no limit on the number of users connecting through the device, said Barry Cioe, Symantec products director.

The Symantec Firewall/VPN comes in three models: The 100, 200 and 200R. The 100 includes all the features listed above and includes one port to connect to broadband access devices like DSL (digital subscriber line) or cable modems and four 10/100M-bits-per-second ports for local networking, Symantec said. The Symantec Firewall/VPN 100 costs US$499 and will be available in North America and Europe on Oct. 15. The appliance will be available worldwide in 2002, Cioe said.

Both 200 models offer all of the 100's features, but include network traffic load-balancing and have two broadband connection ports, Cioe said. Having two Internet connection ports allows the appliance to be connected to two different Internet service providers at once, ensuring a high-amount of bandwidth and a high-level of network availability, he said. The 200R stands apart from the 200 model in that it includes VPN client software to allow remote users to connect to the Symantec Firewall/VPN appliance, Cioe said. Both devices also ship on Oct. 15 and cost $899 for the 200 model and $1,199 for the 200R.

The idea for the Symantec Firewall/VPN devices came from customers who wanted the protection that firewalls and VPNs offer, but couldn't afford to pay the higher prices that most systems cost, especially if they had multiple remote offices to secure, Cioe said. The desire to sell to these customers led to the pricing structure, he said. Symantec already offers a higher-end firewall/VPN appliance, the Velociraptor, which retails for thousands of dollars, Cioe said.

Financial services, health care and government organizations are most likely to be immediately interested in these devices, since they must comply with information security regulations, he said. For Symantec, the new Firewall/VPN devices mark the first steps toward offering integrated, comprehensive security services and products, Cioe added.

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