Sony Wants No Excuses

The average firewall just isn’t enough anymore for multimedia entity Sony Pictures Entertainment. The company today announced the deployment of ManHunt, an upgraded security solution from Redwood City, Calif.-based Recourse Technologies that uses protocol-anomaly detection and high-speed statistical analysis technology to track and respond to network threats and break-ins from internal or external sources.

Recourse Technology released its threat management system in early 2000 to mainly fortune 1000 companies, among them Palm, Inc., and has garnered contracts with the Federal Government, the Department of Defense, and various unnamed intelligence agencies.

“To just detect an event isn’t enough” said Fred Kost, senior vice president of marketing for Recourse. “If I tell you which network threats look serious out of a hundred potential risks, then that’s a lot more beneficial to a company or an organization and can save a lot of time and manpower.”

Used in conjunction with firewall and antivirus technology, ManHunt will be deployed throughout Sony’s network infrastructure to secure Web access, supply chain management, application maintenance, data center access, and its business-to-business servers.

But at the top of Sony’s priority list for network security is protection of the company crown jewels: its digital entertainment assets that include television and feature film scripts, confidential marketing information for new releases, in addition to employee history information, social security numbers, and financial information.

“It’s the closest thing to a crystal ball as you can get,” said Jeff Uslan, director of Information Protection and Security for Sony. “It can break down the nature of the intrusion and determine what exactly was violated and where it came from.”

Given the breadth of Sony’s network and the fact that company employees have extensive Internet access, protecting a non-restrictive network has posed many problems for Uslan’s five-member, 24-hour IT team, which recently made the switchover from Internet Security Systems to Recourse, citing that ISS uses a more linear security system that didn’t provide enough protection for Sony and its parent company Sony Corporation of America.

At gigabit speed, ManHunt integrates protocol-anomaly detection with signature-based detection to serve larger more sophisticated networks as it hunts out new and previously unknown attacks. As opposed to many detection systems built solely on signature-based technology, ManHunt can violate a protocol and hunt out forms of the invasion through other variables, aggregating them into incidents or events that can more easily be traced and understood.

According to Uslan, with a just signature-based technology, incidents as simple as a company employee loading faulty software can show up as a violation of the network.

“With ManHunt, when you step outside of protocol, it sets up an alert. Protocol anomaly detection can identify exactly what it is that you’re looking at so we can say, ‘okay,’ someone is on my network and is trying to invade the system.”

Recourse Technology also markets ManTrap, a low-cost intrusion detection system.

The company is funded by Canaan Partners, Doll Capital Management, Intel Capital, and Menlo Ventures.

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