Symantec boosts firewall management

Officials at Symantec Corp. are pushing scalable Web-based management and Java-based remote access as major additions to the newest version of its enterprise firewall.

The management tools that come with Symantec Enterprise Firewall 8.0 allow an information technology manager to create a rule and then push it to hundreds or even thousands of the company's security gateway devices from a single console.

Even better for sleep-deprived managers, a new Java-based interface allows them to access the system from anywhere and at anytime. They can make adjustments from remote locations instead of coming into the facility.

Users of Symantec's 24-hour monitoring service, for example, would receive an alert on their pagers that something was wrong on the enterprise's network. Then they would log in remotely via the Web-based Symantec Advanced Manager, make the necessary adjustments to such settings as security profiles and distribute them to various locations in the network.

"Moving to this Java-based capability has been a big movement recently in the security industry," said Michele Araujo, Symantec's senior product manager.

The full-inspection firewall also scales to speeds in excess of 1.5 gigabits/sec to cater for network connections that range from standard T1 lines at 1.5 megabits/sec to Gigabit Ethernet.

Enterprise Firewall 8.0 is an example of the newer generation of firewalls that need to provide more than simple packet-header inspections. With the increasing danger of attacks included in application data and from blended threats, such as the recent Blaster, Slammer and Sobig worms, firewalls are becoming sophisticated hybrid devices that integrate such things as full application inspection, application-layer proxies, stateful inspection and packet filtering.

They also need to have full support for both IPsec and SSL virtual private networks. According to Araujo, the use of SSL VPNs is expected to overtake more traditional IPsec VPNs in the next 12 months.

Brian Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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