Secure Computing offers SMBs unified protection

The vendor's all-in-one security appliance targets businesses that want better security, without the complexities of managing multiple products.

SINGAPORE--Companies without the technical resources and budget to protect their computers against viruses, intruders and malicious content, should consider all-in-one security appliances, say one security vendor.

Designed for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that want a single security product, Secure Computing's SnapGear offers a combination of firewall, antivirus, intrusion detection and prevention, as well as content filtering capabilities. Such all-in-one appliances are commonly referred to as unified threat management (UTM) devices.

Speaking to reporters at a media briefing last week, Benjamin Low, Secure Computing's country manager for Asean and India, said integrated security devices are ideal for SMBs because they are easy to implement and use.

Low touted SnapGear as a product that is suited for SMBs that do not have internal technical expertise and personnel, because users only need a one-day training period to learn how to use the device.

SMBs can choose from a variety of SnapGear product models, he said, depending on their requirements such as the number of workstations, data throughput and bandwidth capacity. SnapGear comprises seven different models, starting from US$325, Low said.

He added that SnapGear is not a new product line for the company and has been in the Asian market for some time. The appliance was previously marketed under the brand name CyberGuard, a security company which Secure Computing acquired in 2005 as part of the latter's strategy to beef up its product portfolio. New SnapGear products with the Secure Computing logo will hit the shelves in May, Low said.

Next month will also see the opening of Secure Computing's first hardware-parts replacement center in Asia. To be located in Singapore, the center will serve customers in Southeast Asia, Low said.

The center is part of the company's plan to reduce the time its clientele in Southeast Asia have to wait to receive new hardware components. In the past, customers within the warranty period would have to wait for replacement parts from the U.S. office for as long as a few weeks to a month, said Low. "The center in Singapore will stock popular SnagGear models. If it is deemed to be a hardware fault, it will be replaced with a one-for-one swap," Low added.

Booming unified market
According to research company IDC, the worldwide UTM market is projected to be worth US$2.4 billion in about four years' time, recording a compound annual growth rate of 47.9 percent between 2004 and 2009.

However, some industry observers say that despite UTM's benefits, these appliances will not replace single-task systems.

Also in the SnapGear portfolio is a network interface card (NIC) adapter which can be used to restrict desktop users' access to the general local area network, as well as ensure only authorized actions are allowed on critical servers.

Lim Keng Hoe, regional director for corporate strategy at Quantiq, which distributes Secure Computing products, said the SnapGear NIC adapter is similar to "a hardware firewall for a PC".

"Instead of using software-based firewalls like ZoneAlarm, all a user needs to do is slot this NIC into the PCMCIA card slot [on a computer]," he explained. The recommended list price of the SnapGear NIC adapter is US$518.

On Quantiq's plans to promote the NIC card to SMBs, Lim said there is a possibility of working with ISPs (Internet service providers) to bundle the hardware with the latter's commercial services.

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