Cisco plans firewall addition for small businesses

Cisco Systems this week plans to ramp up its VPN (virtual private network) security with a new addition to its PIX firewall line as well as an updated version of its Secure Policy Manager software for enterprise users.

The Cisco PIX Firewall 506 will bring a low-end offering aimed at small businesses and branch offices to the company's existing firewall set. Other products in the family include the PIX 515, targeted at small and midsize enterprises, and the Secure PIX 520, which is designed for large enterprise installations.

With its newest firewall member, Cisco is attempting to tap into small business environments, which -- with increasing reliance on the Internet -- are seeking more powerful security solutions for remote access technologies and VPN. About the size of a hardback, the PIX 506 can handle throughput of 10Mbps and 3DES encryption at rates of 4Mbps, according to Cisco. The 506 firewall holds a 200MHz Intel Pentium III processor, 32MB of RAM, and two integrated Fast Ethernet ports.

Version 2.0 of Cisco Secure Policy Manager adds improved scalability and additional support for IPsec VPN configurations in Cisco's routers and firewalls. The Policy Manager lets IT managers define and audit network security policies from a central location, according to the company. The product also can simplify deployment of security services supported by Cisco's firewalls and IOS-based VPN routers, Cisco said.

The Cisco Secure PIX Firewall 506 will be available in May, priced starting at $US1,950. The Secure Policy Manager 2.0 will begin shipping this month, priced at $7,500.

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