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Sygate Makes Dedicated VPN for Alcatel

In the wake of heightened concerns for network safety, enterprise security provider Sygate Technologies Wednesday said that it has created a dedicated application that shields virtual private network (VPN) connections from malicious programs.

The Fremont, Calif. firm designed the solution specifically for French telecommunications giant Alcatel's VPN. What makes the tool dedicated is that Alcatel's Secure VPN Client will establish a connection only when protected by the Sygate Security Agent.

Sygate Secure Agent protects the VPN client with software that uses a heuristic, or "trial-by-error" security engine capable of detecting and instantly blocking established and new threats from invading the corporate network. Countermeasures follow the user and automatically adapt to the application being used, as well as to the method of connection.

The Sygate Security Agent is part of a pre-existing enterprise suite, Sygate Secure Enterprise, which offers central security management of VPN users that makes it possible for data-heavy organizations to secure remote access networks on a large scale. The security agents are backed by Sygate's security servers that provide real-time centralized or distributed remote control and monitoring. This reduces the risk of intrusion at all points across a PC and alerts the IT staff.

The VPN client is comprised of Alcatel's Secure VPN Gateway product suite (713x), its Secure VPN Management Suite (563x) that integrates with a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)-compliant X.500 directories, as well as its Secure VPN Client for Microsoft Operating Systems.

"Intruders make it difficult for large corporations to reap the benefits of the mobile enterprise," said John De Santis, chief executive officer and president of Sygate Technologies. "The Sygate and Alcatel alliance will combine proven industry-leading solutions to close an important gap in information security and control, enabling safe and secure mobile computing."

In this age of heightened security, it has become commonplace for large networking and telecommunications firms to develop a VPN device or solution they can then sell, or at least buy one from a firm for their own use. They're far more cost-effective than piecemeal, patchwork solutions. Cisco Systems Inc. and Nokia make up some of the more notable VPN developers, with Sygate and myriad other smaller security firms chiming in with their own products.

Interestingly, Sygate last week joined Cisco's AVVID (Architecture for Voice and Video Integrated Data) Partner Program as a security and virtual private network (VPN) solutions member. AVVID is an interoperability testing and co-marketing program dedicated to preserving and developing the SAFE security blueprint, which protects AVVID networks with strategically placed security technologies that mitigate threats throughout an enterprise's infrastructure.

And where there is a partner program, there is a market that drives it. For instance, research firm IDC said revenue generated from IP VPN equipment will more than triple from $2.3 billion in 2000 to $7.5 billion in 2005.

"IP VPNs are attractive for their low cost, ubiquity, and the flexibility they provide in ad hoc connectivity," said Jason Smolek, an analyst with IDC's IP VPNs research program. "Companies that deploy IP VPNs don't need to build private lines between their sites, and for organizations with multiple sites, this represents huge cost savings in terms of capital and time. It also makes an IP VPN an excellent vehicle to e-enable a company because business processes can be linked without resorting to expensive infrastructure investments."

And, as Gartner Dataquest noted, because 80 percent of enterprises will be using the Internet as an integral part of their business processes by 2004, it is imperative that companies shore up their defenses now.

"Open supply chain communications will explode over the Internet over the next two years," said Gartner Research Director Roberta Witty. "Enterprises will save a lot of money and headaches if they address their total security plans now."