Security Year in Review: VPNs and Firewalls

With many new and improved products on the market, this has been a good year for designing VPNs and deploying firewalls. Here’s an overview of happenings during 2002 with exclusive comments from David Flynn, Vice President of Marketing at NetScreen Technologies.

When asked about the development of the global VPN and firewall security market in 2002, Flynn said: “Because of the increasing number, complexity and origin of threats, the perimeter firewall security approach is inadequate. Security must be ubiquitous to the network – guarding both the ever-expanding perimeter and the vulnerable interior of an organization. Enterprises and service providers are recognizing that legacy security solutions are too complex to deploy and maintain, and often produce “choke points” in the network, making ubiquitous deployment unwieldy.”

“Customers are increasingly turning to purpose-built integrated security appliances, such as NetScreen’s devices, that have exceptional performance, robust functionality and simple deployment and management features to secure their networks without compromise.” Flynn added.

In every aspect of security there’s been events that marked the year, when it comes to VPN and firewall security Flynn said: “2002 has been the year of marked VPN adoption. As distributed enterprises and service providers recognize the cost savings realized by leveraging the public Internet versus leased lines for data connections, deployments have increased from tens to hundreds of sites.”

What would a year review be without defining expectations and trends for the future? Flynn said: “Customers will be looking to replace legacy networks and security solutions with solutions that enable new applications and help increase overall security and efficiency, while still saving money. To this end, NetScreen anticipates continued adoption of appliances and increased integration of functionality, such as intrusion detection, in those systems.”

“Specifically, from NetScreen in the coming year, customers can expect to see integration of intrusion detection and prevention technology into firewalls so that a single platform can be leveraged to help improve security and reduce operating costs, without jeopardizing performance.” Flynn added.

Here are some interesting activities in the VPN and firewall market in 2002:

In January F-Secure antivirus technology was integrated with CyberGuard’s firewall/VPN appliances, achieving multilevel security. Pat Wheeler, vice president of business development at CyberGuard said: “We were looking for an anti-virus solution that was proven, and with off-the-shelf interoperability with CyberGuard’s own technology. Equally important, we required a partner with a reputation for excellent support.”

In March SnapGear released SnapGear PRO+, a VPN Router appliance with integrated V.90 modem for automatic failover for ADSL and Cable-connected customers. Miles Gillham, VP Marketing, said: “This product is a big step forward for broadband users who require a higher level of fault tolerance. Narrowband fallback means no downtime if a carrier experiences ADSL or Cable outages.” In December, Snapgear released a powerful new small-medium enterprise range of VPN firewall appliances.

In May Alcatel released OmniAccess 512 with VPN capabilities. Designed to connect branch offices to corporate sites, the Alcatel OmniAccess 512 combines LAN switching, WAN routing, VoIP, firewall, and VPN security offering multi-service access to the enterprise backbone. Joelle Gauthier, Alcatel vice president of network infrastructure marketing said: “Offering secure voice and data applications to the branch office is one of the highest priorities of the network manager today.”

In June V-ONE Corporation started offering advanced VPN solutions to users and resellers of satellite IP data communication services through its SmartSat program. SmartSat enables organizations to realize the benefits of satellite communication while overcoming long-standing VPN performance problems associated with satellite circuits.

In September Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. has been recognized as a market leader by research and advisory firm, Gartner, Inc. In a report, Gartner notes: “Leadership in the remote-access VPN market requires that vendors provide a broad, competitive, compelling range of products that enable enterprises to build secure and flexible VPNs across all lines and layers of their business.” Later this year Check Point received another award, this time from Network World magazine.

Infoexpress’ VPN Software VTCP/Secure was also awarded in September, when Windows & .NET Magazine selected them as a winner in the Best VPN category. Stacey Lum, CEO of InfoExpress said, “We’re honored to receive this recognition from the readers of Windows & .NET Magazine. This award is particularly meaningful because it was selected by people who use VPN solutions everyday.”

Also in September ActivCard launched it’s Smart VPN solution that bundles a AAA Server with a USB device and digital identity software. This promotion was designed to motivate VPN owners to add strong authentication to their current VPN-based remote access systems in order to protect against unwanted intrusion from hackers.

In November IDC released an annual report titled “Worldwide Security Appliance Forecast and Analysis 2002 – 2006: Hardware Continues to be the Choice of Security Software Deployment” where NetScreen Technologies was ranked as the fastest growing security appliance vendor in VPN and firewall market.

Just a few days ago MandrakeSoft announced the availability of “Multi Network Firewall” (MNF) — a multi-VPN, multi-DMZ firewall and networking solution that provides smart Internet Traffic Management combined with an industrial-strength hardening system for the highest level of network security.