Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wandering Around SecureWorld Expo, Securing the Endpoint

SecureWorld Expo came to the Bay Area during the week of September 20, and was pretty well attended. This conference will make a few more North America stops bfore the end of the year: Among the sponsors were ESET, Websense, and Palo Alto Networks. Fortinet was also one of the exhibitors. There were a number of other internet security and security vendors,as well.

ESET’s booth people didn’t have a lot to say about Microsoft’s recent announcement that they would be putting endpoint security into the next version of Windows. Nor did they have anything to say about McAfee’s announcement about their DeepSafe technology, announced a week earlier at the Intel Forum.

According to a press release about the forum, “With the announcement of this new DeepSAFE technology, McAfee and Intel are working to change the industry by combining the power of hardware and software to create much more sophisticated ways to prevent attacks. Cybercriminals know how to evade current operating systems-based security, demanding a new paradigm – security beyond the operating system.” One would think that internet security vendors would be a little bit concerned about how both of these could affect their revenues.

You’ll Have to Figure Out Which Vendor Said What

I had the opportunity to chat with the booth people at Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks, Websense, and SonicWALL. Three of the vendors discussed the application control technologies contained within their products. One of the vendors wouldn’t criticize the other vendors directly, but they stated that their product was still essential because the other vendor’s products presented a potential single point of security failure. One of the other vendors talked about how their Next Generation Firewall (NGFW) differed from traditional firewalls. They also discussed their single scan technology and felt that one of the other vendor’s products at the show was more of a UTM, with extra bolted on technology.

The vendor with the “UTM, with extra bolted on technology” stated that they were, in fact, offering Next Generation Firewalls, that scaled up to enterprise strength, and in fact, was faster than the other company's NGFW solutions were. Not quite a corporate smackdown but interesting, nonetheless.

Securing the Endpoint – The Battle Continues

The room was reasonably full for the panel discussion “Securing the Endpoint – The Battle Continues”. The session was primarily a Q&A with customers on the panel. There weren’t vendors on the panel. Comments made by the panel weren’t extraordinary but there was a breadth of security savvy in the event attendees. Some of the comments made – Multiple layers of security are essential. If you make use of a malware gateway appliance, don’t use the same malware software as you use on the desktop. The growth of people wanting to connect their devices, whether smartphones, home laptops, or tablets, is making securing the network more problematic. It’s essential that employees be retrained in security annually. One of the panel attendees also felt the internet security/antivirus software on his company’s network was probably capturing only 30% of what hit it. Given that, he felt that the software was overpriced.

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