DISA expands antivirus offerings

With thousands of computer viruses lurking in cyberspace ready to attack not only individual PCs but entire networks, the Defense Information Systems Agency decided that the Defense Department and homeland defense communities needed enterprise-level protection.

As a result, DISA recently awarded three vendor teams contracts to enhance the protection of everything from desktops to wireless devices as part of the DOD and Coast Guard enterprise antivirus software initiative.

"There are about 59,000 viruses out there in the wild, and with that threat, it's becoming more important for us to protect at the enterprise level," said Mark Bogart, chief of contracts in DISA's National Capital Region, adding that the initiative also covers homeland defense agencies and the National Guard. "The chain is only as strong as the weakest link...and we want to protect the whole chain at the DOD level so everybody will be connected at the network level."

The following companies were awarded contracts Sept. 13 to help protect more than 3 million DOD computers from viruses for users at work and at home:

* Network Associates Technology Inc., featuring products from subsidiary McAfee Security.

* Northrop Grumman Information Technology, with partner Symantec Corp.

* Government Technology Solutions Inc. (gTech) with partner Trend Micro Inc.

Bogart said the three main technology enhancements that the contracts offer consist of better management tools from the departmentwide level down to the end-user level, protection of wireless assets, and personal desktop firewall protection, including secure dial-up and broadband capabilities for home users -critical as the number of telecommuters expands.

All three awards are for one base year with four one-year options. The Network Associates and Northrop Grumman IT deals — each valued at $16.5 million — replace and enhance expiring awards. The gTech award, which is new, is worth $4.6 million if all options are exercised.

"We believe we have the top three antivirus vendors...protecting servers, gateways and desktops...and the benefit of three vendors' signature databases also increases protection," Bogart said.

To ensure that government users continue to get the best antivirus tools as technology evolves, the contracts are "protection-based, not product-centric," Bogart said. He added that this covers any antivirus protection product or enhancement that the vendors release during the life of the awards.

Robert Deitz II, president of Shingle Springs, Calif.-based gTech — Trend Micro's exclusive government reseller — said that although this is the first time Trend Micro has been awarded a portion of the DISA contract, the company already provides antivirus protection to about 1 million DOD users.

"The DISA contract validated...the product that the DOD was already using and paying for," Deitz said.

Bogart said DISA has no influence on what products DOD and other homeland defense agencies buy, although he is aware that some will choose to standardize, "but it's up to them to decide."

"It's protecting the enterprise, not a number of users," he said.

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Virus protection

Network Associates Technology Inc. offerings include:

* McAfee Security's VirusScan software for desktop protection.

* McAfee's NetShield software for file server protection.

* McAfee's GroupShield software for e-mail servers.

* McAfee's WebShield software for Internet gateway protection.

* McAfee's VirusScan Wireless, which protects handheld devices from viruses locally and during synchronization with a PC.

Northrop Grumman Information Technology offerings include:

* Symantec Corp. Client Security for desktops and servers, as well as desktop firewall and intrusion prevention.

* Symantec System Center, a central console for management and reporting of antivirus and firewall clients.

* Symantec AntiVirus/Filtering for Lotus Development Corp. Domino and Microsoft Corp. Exchange, providing mail and content scanning for those servers.

* Symantec AntiVirus for Palm Inc.'s operating system and Microsoft's PocketPC.

* Symantec Web Security, providing antivirus and content scanning at the HTTP and FTP gateway.

Government Technology Solutions Inc. offerings from its partner Trend Micro Inc. include:

* InterScan Virus Wall, server-based software for Microsoft Windows NT and 2000 operating systems and Linux and Sun Microsystems Inc. Solaris platforms.

* ScanMail for Exchange for NT/2000.

* PC-cillin for wireless devices.

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