Network Associates Spins Off Antivirus ASP

BOSTON (01/28/2000) - NOTE TO EDITORS: This story includes information that was disclosed to the IDG News Service under the condition that it not be made available to the general public until Monday, Jan. 31. We are making this story available internally to the IDG editorial community for your convenience in planning the forthcoming issue of your print publication. If any other public news source -- print or online -- breaks the embargo, the embargo will be considered irrelevant.

Network Associates Inc. has spun off an ASP (application service provider) division offering network security and availability services, including an offering designed to ensure that employees are regularly updating antivirus software and running the virus detection agent.

The new business is called myCIO.com and it officially launched today (Jan. 31) after six months of planning. Zach Nelson is president and chief executive officer of myCIO.com, which has 100 employees and will initially be located within Network Associates' Santa Clara, California, headquarters. Nelson previously was Network Associates' vice president of worldwide marketing.

Antivirus protection is "a notoriously difficult area to manage," Nelson said.

"In any company, show me any desktop and I'll show you an antivirus (agent) that's six months out of date." Because of that, Network Associates decided to turn its antiviral attention to the booming ASP market.

Besides the launch of the ASP division, the first two services from myCIO.com also were announced today:

-- Customers who sign up for VirusScan ASaP will receive a Web address that users can access for automatic McAfee antivirus downloads that can be automatically updated.

"Users invoke it and it happens automatically and, boom, it's there," Nelson said.

The antivirus agent will update automatically when a user boots up a computer or as an IT administrator schedules updates. Besides sending new versions of virus signature files so that the antivirus agent can detect virus infections, the service also will send news updates to users providing information about viruses that are making headlines.

The agent also will let users know which viruses have been found and eradicated. IT administrators will be able to access a Web site that will tell them the number of viruses killed within the company and on whose desktops.

That aspect of the service will give IT users centralized virus management, which is something that hasn't been offered before, Nelson said.

The VirusScan ASaP service costs US$3.50 per month per user for a maximum of 25 users. For companies with 500 or fewer users, the price is $2.50. Companies with more than 500 users should contact myCIO.com for a price quote because the vendor will offer them a more customized service, Nelson said.

"I think we're going to see a big demand from big customers," he added.

-- CyberCop ASaP services will use known hacks to try to break through corporate firewalls. The service also will provide companies with reports about areas of weakness in firewalls, and will offer remedies.

The service will scan for various vulnerabilities at preset times -- daily, weekly or monthly. It also will automatically add holes and hacks to its database as they are discovered and apply those to the next scan.

Besides taking external shots at firewalls to assess vulnerabilities, the service also can scan internally using VPN (virtual private network) tunnelling to assess potential dangers to corporate Web servers and internal file servers.

Pricing is based on a one-year contract with six scans for $500. Customers can also buy 12 scans for slightly less than double that price, Nelson said.

The company also announced three partnerships.

Concentric Network Corp. will offer VirusScan ASaP services through its gateway site; EdgeMail Technologies will embed the McAfee VirusScan engine into its Linux and Solaris servers to protect hosted e-mail from viruses and also will resell VirusScan ASaP, and Exodus Communications Inc. will offer CyberCop ASaP through its Web-hosting services and Internet data centers.

Network Associates, in Santa Clara, California, can be reached at +1-408-988-3832 or at http://www.nai.com/.

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