Top security products 2004

Von Russell Bennett

The end of the year is upon us, and it is time to take a look back over 2004, and find out about products that became available which eased the load of your network, or added enhanced functionality.

Ordinarily, decisions about which products were of a high enough standard to warrant inclusion in this edition would be based on two key criteria: feedback from customers in the marketplace itself, and first-hand experience, based on any reviews of the device.

Unfortunately no such hands-on articles have been included in Network World this year (that is changing, see back pages for reviews on the latest networking tech), the choice of top products for 2004 came down to the input and comments received from the industry itself.

The first product set to fall under the spotlight is the area of security. This year, as in almost every year in fact, security has become an even more critical issue, requiring ever more complex solutions.

Fortunately McAfee Inc. seems to be easing the burdens of overworked IT managers with its latest range of data security solutions. Says Sacha Alton, McAfee channel manager: "We have seen our integrated security appliance being taken up very rapidly this year, customers seem to love the idea of a security solution with everything required integrated onto a single platform."

"Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) have been another strong growth area for us this year. It has taken a year to educate the market on this technology, but we are finding that customers are ready to deploy IPS now," she continues.

As a result of this acceptance, the technology has subsequently been incorporated into the latest VScan enterprise anti-virus suite, version 8.0i. While in the SME arena, McAfee has enjoyed further success, after it responded to criticisms from the sector regarding the price and complexity of security solutions.

"The fact that our full security offering hooks into the ePolicy Orchestrator central management console has really been a great advantage for us this year. In the SME sector, we simplified the management console and called it Protection Pilot, and the space has taken to this new offering very well," explains Alton.

This organization"s acquisition of vulnerability assessment specialist Foundstone Inc. has left McAfee with the tools to gain further visibility into the needs of its customers. These assessment modules will be incorporated into the McAfee solution next year, giving the organization an even more attractive value proposition.

Concludes Alton: "We continue to follow a defense in-depth strategy, as it is clear that such a multi-point strategy is what is needed against today"s multi-threaded threats. That McAfee is able to scan for known threats based on signatures, unknown threats based on pattern analysis, and yet still only requires a 10MB footprint, is just one reason why our customers show us such strong support."