Industry innovators 2007: Perimeter defense

The perimeter defense group is a small one and there's a very good reason for that. Nowhere in the information security product space is there more convergence then here. In a group that used to contain IDS, IPS, anti-malware gateways, email gateways and numerous other specialized types of gateways, we see everything converging into universal threat management (UTM) tools. Even where the IPS still reigns, only an IPS that can be part of a bigger picture will survive.

Click here for eSoft Instagate.
Click here for NitroSecurity IPS.
Click here for AirWave.

Does this mean that IDS/IPS and all of those point solution gateways are out the door? Not quite yet, but they will be. Even the gateway giants are working on achieving the convergence the market is demanding. Price, of course, is the key driver here, and the trend toward convergence means that we need to rethink how we do defense in depth. Where defense in depth used to mean that there were multiple gateways at the perimeter — the bad guys had to run a gauntlet to get in — now we need to extend protection to the desktop.

This was a very tough category because there are some very big players here. When we evaluated all of the offerings, however, we were impressed by a company that told us that it never really intended to build an IPS, but it couldn't find one that would be an adequate sensor for its analysis backend. We agreed, and these little folks whomped the Goliaths in the market for their shear imagination, vision and solid implementation.

One of the products in this group is part of a larger suite, and another product in that suite fits well in our security infrastructure group.

And, finally, we could not leave out the 800-pound gorilla in the room, wireless. One of our vendors told us that they see over 80 percent of all connectivity going wireless in the near future. That means that wireless security is a critical piece of the puzzle.

This group will define how (and how well) we protect our perimeters. Protecting the perimeter implies protecting the enterprise as a whole. And that pretty much says what these three products are all about.

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