With an eye towards improving security by integrating with third-party products rather than developing new ones, NetScreen Technologies Inc. Monday announced its Global Alliance Program, through which NetScreen devices will be made to interoperate with a host of other security products from a range of vendors. As part of the announcement, NetScreen announced the first two such integration deals: the first with a number of intrusion detection system (IDS) vendors, including Internet Security Systems Inc. (ISS), and the second an antivirus pact with Trend Micro Inc.
NetScreen makes a series of high-bandwidth capacity network-security appliances that combine the functions of firewalls, VPNs (virtual private networks) and traffic management tools.
The alliance program will address five areas of NetScreen's business, said Janine Roth, vice president of business development at the company. Those areas are network infrastructure; global services; complementary security services such antivirus or intrusion detection; next generation applications like voice over IP, storage or caching; and business expansions involving licensing and royalty agreements, she said.
The Program launches with 12 members, including Recourse Technologies Inc., Foundry Networks Inc., Trend Micro Inc., L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co., NetIQ Corp., ISS, Extreme Networks Inc. and Dynamicsoft Inc. Membership in the program will include the sharing of developer resources, as well as cooperative marketing and sales, said David Flynn, vice president of marketing at NetScreen.
NetScreen has also established a lab to oversee the integration of NetScreen products with those of its partners, as well as to create software development kits and APIs (application program interfaces) for the program, NetScreen said in a press release.
The Alliance was formed because customers require greater sophistication in their security systems and because security is beginning to be seen as a need from the outset of projects, rather than something to be added on later, Roth said.
In addition, it makes more sense to interoperate with the best products -- even if they're owned by other companies -- rather than develop a whole suite of mediocre products that NetScreen would wholly own to compete in those areas, Flynn said.
Membership in the alliance is not open to just anyone, Roth said, noting that though the company is currently in discussion with other firms about membership, only companies with the best product offerings in their areas will be allowed to join.
The first two offerings to come out the program include the intrusion detection system (IDS) plan, which will be phased in three steps, and the antivirus work. The IDS integration, which will see NetScreen devices interoperating with IDS systems from ISS, Recourse and SourceFire Inc., will allow an IDS to automatically log into the NetScreen firewall when it detects suspicious activity and terminate those connections, Flynn said. The second step, set to be completed in the first quarter of 2002, will see the range of attacks that NetScreen devices can detect and stop nearly quadruple, he said. Lastly, NetScreen and its partners will work to implement future security technologies, he said.
The integration with Trend Micro's antivirus software won't be finalized until the first quarter of 2002, Flynn said. When it is finished, however, it will allow traffic to be routed from NetScreen's devices to Trend's gateway antivirus systems to provide virus scanning for inbound Internet traffic, he said. The system will be configurable so as to only scan traffic coming from download sites of Web-based e-mail systems, rather than all traffic, Flynn said.