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Tightening the security belt

Senforce officials have released Version 3.0 of the company's Endpoint Security suite. The technology covers the computers, handhelds, mobile phones and other devices that form the endpoints of networks.

The company will sell the suite as a package, but any of its four modules are available separately. One module provides a firewall, one guards machines against physical theft, one controls connectivity, and the fourth provides endpoint integrity, meaning it ensures that antivirus, anti-spyware and other security measures are running on each machine.

The Senforce suite allows network managers to consolidate functions. For example, they can set rules for when applications are not permitted to connect to the Web, taking that decision out of the hands of users. Managers can set rules about storage devices, including whether some types can be used on a given computer or perhaps used only in a read-only mode. That can prevent a data thief from moving sensitive information from a notebook to a USB memory stick.

"Managing endpoints is the scary part of the equation," said Kip Meacham, director of product management at Senforce. Most networks are difficult to manage because they have too many machines in the hands of users.

Meanwhile, Polycom officials are focusing their attention on securing video and voice traffic over the Internet.

The company's new Voice Video Interface Unit appliances make it possible to send secure video and voice communications when the user is outside the corporate firewall. The appliances are designed to work with existing network security, so they're compatible with network policies such as quality of service.

Among other features, the product prioritizes voice and video delivery. It also routes the information along the shortest path between two endpoints instead of through a centralized server.

Additionally, the appliances perform voice and video network address translation at the public/private IP address boundary. According to Polycom officials, this function eliminates the security risks of other methods that tunnel or hide video and voice traffic from existing security products that protect networks' perimeters.

Building a better notebook

You might think one notebook computer is as good as another, but Gateway officials would argue with you. They have released the M460, designed to deliver more than 10 hours of battery life and other high-

performance features.

The battery life is important, said Chad McDonald, senior product manager at Gateway, because of wireless networks. In the past, users had to connect a phone line to get online, so it was not difficult to plug in for power at the same time. Now that wireless networks are common and the phone — or Ethernet — connection is no longer needed, longer battery endurance makes a notebook computer more versatile.

However, users have to make some effort to achieve optimal battery life. The computer will run for up to seven hours on the installed battery. A hot-swap bay allows a second battery to augment the internal power when needed.

Gateway engineers loaded a thin profile with features, striving for an optimal balance with price, McDonald said. The machine starts at $899 retail.

"You're going to find products that are thinner, but they're going to cost $1,000 more," he said. "You'll find some with a few more features, but they'll be thicker."

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