Axent unites products, services

Axent Technologies Inc. this month unveiled a strategy that integrates its security services and products to help federal agencies make electronic commerce and electronic business a reality on the Internet.

The company's new Smart Security Architecture brings together all of Axent's security products, as well as products from third-party vendors, in a solution that can be tailored to provide the security that an agency needs.

The strategy is based on Axent's Life-cycle Security solution, which provides a full range of security services, from conducting risk assessments and designing a security road map to installing and monitoring security measures.

Greg Coticchia, vice president of marketing at Axent, said the company's efforts emanate from a basic reality in the new "e-government" space: Having no way to fully avoid risk, agencies must determine the amount of risk they consider acceptable. And because each agency has a different level of acceptable risk, security solutions must be different, he said.

Through a series of acquisitions during the past year, Axent now offers security products in almost every area, from management and firewalls to virtual private networks and password control. Many security vendors also are bringing their products together in a consolidated offering, but Axent did not want to try to create a single "silver-bullet" solution, Coticchia said.

Axent is not the first security vendor to integrate its offerings, but the company has brought together a unique combination of best-of-breed products that places it in the top group of companies, said Diana Kelley, an analyst with the Hurwitz Group.

And the company's insistence on the modularity of its solution is very important right now in a market in which many organizations already have point products in place, she said. Those organizations often have become attached to their products, and vendors are learning that any attempt to replace those products rather than work with existing products can only harm their business. "Axent knows that they can't just foist this one solution on their customer," Kelley said.

Because every user's needs are different, Lifecycle Security will be used to determine security needs, and Smart Security Architecture then will be used to find the right mix of products to meet those needs. "We're not trying to be a one-size-fits-all, monolithic solution," he said.

Because agencies have so many security products and vendors from which to choose, Axent also is able to bring third-party applications into any solution developed under the Smart Security Architecture, Coticchia said. Agencies that already have made an investment in a security product often do not want, and should not need, to replace those products, he said.

Policy Focus

But products are not the only pieces of a complete security solution. Agencies also need to put policies in place and outline ways to determine that users are following those policies. For this, Axent also is offering its Security Data Warehouse, which enables agencies to write the policies once and use them across several applications.

"It not only implements the policy across applications, it also tracks their compliance," Coticchia said.

Many customers, federal and commercial, have requested this capability, he said. In particular, such a capability works in line with network management and service-level agreements, which he expects to see more and more in the security market as agencies look for ways to ensure the performance of their security solutions.

Consulting services also are part of the new architecture through Secure Network Consulting Inc., an independent subsidiary of Axent. Also offered are product and policy training programs, including the Axent Enterprise Security Professional certification program.

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