Network security appliance protects plant operations from malware

As manufacturers rely on the Internet as the means to run applications—and the vehicle for sending and receiving email—concerns about network security grow in equal measure. One issue, says Charles Kolodgy, research director with Framingham, Mass.-based analyst firm IDC, is determining what type of security product should be used.

11/01/2007


As manufacturers rely on the Internet as the means to run applications—and the vehicle for sending and receiving email—concerns about network security grow in equal measure.

One issue, says Charles Kolodgy, research director with Framingham, Mass.-based analyst firm IDC , is determining what type of security product should be used.

“There are many unified threat management and firewall products on the market,” Kolodgy says. “However, there is a difference between products that provide basic protection versus those that deliver a complete solution.”

For example, the Sidewinder network security appliance from Secure Computing , a supplier of enterprise gateway security solutions, is a firewall that incorporates reputation technology to provide proactive and reliable protection. The company's TrustedSource reputation system is the source of reputation scores for IPs, domains, and URLs.



"By incorporating a robust global reputation service directly within its offerings, Secure Computing provides a comprehensive layer of protection."

—Charles Kolodgy, research director, IDC

Using this real-time scoring, Sidewinder 7.0 enables organizations to drop connections from malicious sources to prevent security threats such as spam, spyware, viruses, zombies, and Trojans at the gateway—well before they ever gain access to a network. At the same time, users reclaim bandwidth and reduce downstream processing.

“By incorporating a robust global reputation service directly within its offerings, Secure Computing provides a comprehensive layer of protection,” Kolodgy says. “As enterprises realize there are many malicious IP senders, they also recognize that identifying these bad IP addresses is vital to overall security.”

That capability is appealing to companies such as Bimba Manufacturing , a maker of pneumatic and electro-pneumatic cylinders and actuators sold to OEMs and end users. The Chicago-based company recently switched from another company's firewall to the Sidewinder product to improve protection against all malware threats—particularly viruses in encrypted email messages, says Matt Nantais, systems administrator at Bimba.

“Our testing showed that viruses in encrypted emails were able to get past our former security products,” Nantais says. “We conducted the same tests using the Secure Computing solution, and it prevented all of the malware from getting to the network.”

Sidewinder combines multiple security functions into a single unified threat management appliance. With the Sidewinder appliance, Bimba Manufacturing is able to secure network access, protect Internet-facing applications, kill hidden attacks in packet streams, block malware, secure employee use of the Internet, decrypt SSL traffic, and create a forensic-quality audit trail for regulatory compliance and reporting. And with speeds up to four times faster than the previous firewall, Sidewinder doesn't bog down Bimba's busy network.

That's a critical capability today, says Nantais, given the nature of day-to-day operations for manufacturers and increasing reliance on the Internet.

“Five years ago, Internet outages were no big deal,” Nantais says. “Today, however, invoicing, purchasing, distribution, e-mail, our e-commerce site—and almost every other aspect of our business—all rely on the Internet. Sidewinder protects the core of our company and enables us to grow.”





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