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WICK HILL FEATURE: A NEW GENERATION OF SECURITY SOLUTIONS

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A NEW GENERATION OF SECURITY SOLUTIONS
by Ian Kilpatrick, managing director Wick Hill Group

August 03

470 words

Over the last few years, the nature of security solutions has been evolving
to meet the growing and increasing nature of the IT security threat. We've
seen a move away from server based security software and we're now entering
a new era in security - that of the appliance.

Security appliances arrived on the scene about six years ago. The first type
to take off was the firewall appliance. Products such as the WatchGuard
Firebox grew in popularity and today there is a wide range of firewall/VPN
appliances, according to the analysts, overtaking software based firewalls
in popularity.

Other security applications have migrated from software to hardware devices,
such as anti-virus, intrusion detection, DOS/ DDoS (denial of service and
distributed denial of service) protection, URL filtering, bandwidth
management, wireless security and application acceleration. The result is
that security appliances sales have surged across a wide range of
applications.

A logical progression of this trend, as the power and speed of hardware
devices continues to grow, is an increase in the functionality of individual
devices, coupled with easier and more comprehensive management functions.

So multi-function devices, which provide a range of security solutions in
one machine (such as the FortiGate anti-virus firewall/VPN, which also
provides content inspection and intrusion detection) are becoming ever more
popular with large, distributed enterprises and with remote offices.

It's not hard to see why appliances have found favour in an environment
where security threats continue to proliferate, both in number and in scope,
and where skilled security staff are a rare and expensive commodity. Appliances can provide many of the benefits that organisations require - from low cost and high performance,
through to ease-of-use and ease-of-management.

Appliances are typically easier to install than server-based security
software, making them attractive to SMEs and enterprises alike. As they are
not server based, hardware devices have the huge financial benefit of
avoiding many of the expensive overheads associated with server management
and patching, a major cost for companies both in down time and in expensive
staff time.

Not only do hardware devices have a very compelling ROI case, they are also
(with a few exceptions) easily scalable to meet users' constantly increasing
performance requirements. Many appliances, such as those from WatchGuard,
Fortinet and RapidStream, are adopting ASIC (application specific integrated
circuit) technology. ASIC is the next high speed generation of appliance
technology and delivers wire speed performance for demanding user
environments.

Conclusion
The migration from server based solutions to security appliances is a
logical progression. The next challenges for the increasingly ubiquitous
appliance lie in three key areas - performance, where only wire speed is
going to be good enough for enterprises; management where ease-of-deployment
and ease of ongoing management and maintenance will be key; and
functionality, as users require their appliances to deliver more and more
of their security requirements,

ENDS

Ian Kilpatrick is chairman of Wick Hill Group, a company specialising in
secure infrastructure solutions for ebusiness. Contact 01483 227 600, email
info@wickhill.co.uk, web www.wickhill.com. For further press information
please contact Annabelle Brown on 0192 252 8548, email
a_brown@dial.pipex.com


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