RealTime IT News

NetContinuum App Gateway For SMBs

NetContinuum is announcing a new version of its Web application firewall that speeds up sessions while reducing network installation and configuration burdens.

The primary objection to installing proxy servers has been that they slow down transaction processes.

NetContinuum CEO Varun Nagaraj told internetnews.com that the new NC-1100, to be rolled out next month, will reduce latency by a factor of 10, or by more than a millisecond.

"The product will actually help improve end-to-end response time," he said.

NetContinuum has incorporated such features as payload size reduction and TCP pooling into its platform.

The NC-1100 also runs as a transparent proxy, which makes it easier to install than typical Web-facing products that sit in front of the server.

Just as the end-user thinks he's communicating with the company's Web server, the Web server believes it is communicating directly with the end user.

As a result, network engineers no longer have to recode IP addresses in applications to which the Web server was connected.

"We're doing server impersonation to talk to the client, and then client impersonation to talk to the server," explained Nagaraj.

NC-1100 also features installation wizards to guide in-house developers who may not know how to configure a proxy.

Nagaraj hopes these features will help it make the jump from a niche market of early adopters to a broader market, principally small and medium-sized businesses (SMB).

"The NC-1000 [first-generation product] won us 120 customers," he said. "I fully expect the [new version] NC-1100 will drive the next 1100 customers."

Michael Gavin, an analyst with Forrester Research, agreed that the market is wide open for this type of security.

And Yankee Group predicts that the market for appliances delivering comprehensive application assurance will reach $230 million by 2009.

The great firewall vs. proxy debate of the 1990s was won by firewalls. The main complaint about proxy servers was that they slowed down transactions, and firewalls did a good job of protecting the networks.

The problem now is that firewalls provide good perimeter protection, but cannot protect Port 80, which is where the world connects to the company's server through the Internet.

Gavin noted that incidents of hacking through Web applications have risen significantly in recent months.

"Attackers are increasingly exploiting this vulnerability," he said.

"For those who made the decision to go with firewall, they may need to revisit that decision," he said.

NetContinuum has begun to gain traction in just the markets they are expecting -- enterprises with resource constraints and a lack of IT expertise.

According to Sam Pointer, director of IT for Atlanta Public Schools, the district selected NC-1100 to protect its online recruitment application to ensure data integrity and data confidentiality.

"The NC-1100's combination of performance and ease of use was a key factor in our decision to go with NetContinuum," he said.