Vendor builds security hub

Network Associates Inc. last week announced a new security solution that is designed to make it easier for organizations to integrate information generated by products from different vendors. The company also announced several key partnerships to bring the solution to the federal market. The initi

Network Associates Inc. last week announced a new security solution that is designed to make it easier for or-ganizations to integrate information generated by products from different vendors. The company also announced several key partnerships to bring the solution to the federal market.

The initiative, called Active Security, is based on a Network Associates' technology called Event Orchestrator. The technology serves as a hub that links firewalls, intrusion-detection systems and other security products used by an organization.

Many such products generate information about security "events," such as intrusions. Event Orchestrator makes it possible to correlate the event information coming from a variety of otherwise incompatible products.

The initiative addresses the technical challenge of integrating products developed separately into a cohesive security solution—a challenge that Network Associates has faced.

Over the past few years, Network Associates has acquired several security companies and their products, including Gauntlet Firewall, McAfee Total Virus Defense, PGP encryption and CyberCop intrusion detection.

The company still is committed to maintaining the quality of each of these products individually, but the new security architecture requires all these defenses to work together as a single solution, said Wes Wasson, director of product marketing at Network Associates. "It's about individual security products acting together in concert to respond to changing security threats," Wasson said.

Electronic commerce and other Internet-based applications have made agencies realize that a firewall will not solve all their security problems, Wasson said.

But then there is the question of whether to buy individual best-of-breed products or a security suite. With Active Security, agencies can connect all their products to Event Orchestrator, which then coordinates and controls everything from a single point—whether those products are from Network Associates or another vendor, according to the company. "The system doesn't live and die by which products you plug into it," Wasson said.

To guarantee this interaction, Network Associates has partnered with several major software, hardware and service companies, such as Microsoft Corp., KPMG LLP, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Entrust Technologies Ltd.

Through these partnerships, Network Associates security technology will be integrated into other products—most notably Microsoft's next-generation operating system, Windows 2000—and other companies' products will be compatible with Orchestrator.

Ultimately, Wasson said, an agency can take its security policy—developed in compliance with Presidential Decision Directive 63—and set actions for Event Orchestrator to take automatically based on that policy.

"They built a lot of brains into this, and the thing that's very attractive is the people they've been able to integrate into this," said Ellen Carney, director and principal analyst for IT services at Dataquest. "It's a significant step in the security market."

The ability to use third-party products or just pieces of the Network Associates group of products makes a big difference for the company's federal partners: GTE Government Systems and Government Technology Services Inc.

"We're bringing some of their products in to augment our own and to be able to provide the total network solution," said Michael Guzelian, director of information security solutions at GTE.

GTE focuses on encryption and privacy, with a strong background in the defense and intelligence communities. By adding in the Gauntlet Firewall, CyberCop intrusion detection and McAfee antivirus technology, "we can provide that extra authentication and identification control in addition to the privacy," Guzelian said.

For GTSI, the Active Security solutions will be combined with solutions from other vendors on the company's contracts to help agencies create a completely secure architecture, said Rich Baich, GTSI's information security business development executive.

***

AT A GLANCE: ACTIVE SECURITY PARTNERS

* Ameritech * Cigna Property & Casualty* Entrust Technologies Ltd.* Ernst & Young* GTSI* GTE Government Systems Corp.* Hewlett-Packard Co.* KPMG LLP * Microsoft Corp.* PageMart* PricewaterhouseCoopers* Sun Microsystems Inc.* VeriSign Inc.* Wireless Inc.

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