Fortress acquires Legra assets

Wireless security vendor Fortress Technologies has acquired technology and assets from moribund wireless LAN switch start-up Legra Systems.

Fortress indicates that it plans to integrate Legra's CryptoFlex technology, which encrypts/decrypts four traffic streams simultaneously, with Fortress' AirFortress vendor-agnostic policy-enforcement WLAN gateway. The result is expected to be a centralized, core WLAN switch that supports all enterprise wireless services and policy management, according to Fortress.

Products should start becoming available in early 2005.

Senior technical staff from Legra have reportedly joined Fortress to assist in the technology integration. Fortress reports that the forthcoming AirFortress security switch family will include devices optimized for remote branch offices and vertical markets, as well as systems for securing corporate campus networks and high-speed point-to-point links.

Coincidentally, I've recently discussed with a few WLAN switch makers whether it might be appropriate for WLAN switches to take on the role of enterprise-wise wireless policy enforcement. This would be similar to the way multifunction firewalls with intrusion prevention, anti-virus capabilities, content filtering, and many other compliance/policy-centric features from companies such as iPolicy and FortiNet protect both the WAN perimeter and LAN segments today.

The WLAN switch makers I talked to shrugged their shoulders (indeed, it is confusing what functions should be bundled into which devices). Note, though, that FortiNet, first and foremost a security appliance maker, does have a multifunction security product that doubles as a wireless access point for small and remote locations.

For its part, Fortress seems to think there is merit in bringing the two technology areas together. Said Shawn Hughes, CEO of Fortress Technologies, in a statement: "The true value of wireless switches is realized when merged with the additional value of high-assurance security and policy enforcement capabilities that provide a seamless secure environment."

Meanwhile, good news for Chantry Networks. The WLAN switch start-up has just received a shot in the arm from Siemens Venture Capital, which has joined the Company's Series "B" round of funding, bringing the total round to US$17 million in private equity financing.

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