Four security software vendors last week announced an initiative aimed at giving IT managers a consistent way to evaluate Web application security tools from different companies.
As part of the effort, Teros, Imperva, NetContinuum and F5 Networks said they have established a proposed set of baseline criteria that products would have to meet to qualify as true application security products.
ICSA Labs, a product testing and certification organization, will administer the new process and do third-party evaluations of application security tools. The initiative was detailed at the Computer Security Institute's annual conference in the US.
The certification program is aimed at resolving some of the confusion that exists in the market over what truly constitutes a Web application security tool, said Wes Wasson, vice president of marketing at NetContinuum. Many of the products that are now being sold offer little more than standard network-level protection, he said.
Growing interest in application-level security has caught the attention of large vendors that "unfortunately, are making marketing claims" that aren't borne out by their products, said Mark Kraynak, director of product marketing at Imperva.
The four originating vendors invited companies such as Cisco Systems, Symantec and Check Point Software Technologies to submit their application security tools for evaluation under the certification program.
In an e-mail statement, a Cisco spokeswoman said the company "will evaluate the opportunity to determine participation." Check Point and Symantec also said they were considering the proposal.
Greg Young, an analyst at Gartner, said application-level firewalls "are a fairly new technology, and this should simplify the process of product selection for buyers."
Similar baseline standards already exist for conventional network firewalls and are similarly administered by ICSA, Young said.