CacheFlow turns into Blue Coat

Network vendor CacheFlow is a security vendor now, and Blue Coat was the best available name

Network vendor CacheFlow is changing its name to Blue Coat Systems in an attempt to reflect the company's shift in emphasis towards enterprise security.

CacheFlow began in the late 1990s, selling specialist appliances designed to speed Internet content to end users. The cache systems were intended to help service providers, e-commerce players and corporations deliver Web content more quickly. With the change in the fortunes of dot-com businesses, and the increased emphasis on security risks, it has moved to a new position, offering security at the content level.

"This is the end of the process, not the beginning," said marketing manager Nigel Hawthorn. This year, the company has announced new security featuresfor authentication and content filtering. The company is continuing to sell through channels to the enterprise "The service provider market is dying," said Hawthorn.

"Everything we do is adding to the security people have from firewalls," he said. "Customers with firewalls need additional security, working at the content level, not packet-by-packet. We used to rebuild content and send it on to its destination. Now we rebuild the content and decide whether it is valid and safe before we send it on to its destination."

It seems the new name, Blue Coat Systems, is intended to evoke the traditional blue coat of an umpire (in baseball). However, UK businesses may feel it has two other associations. Pontin's Blue Coats, modelled on the more famous Red Coats of Butlin's, preside over the enforced jollity at the second-best-known chain of holiday camps in the country. And the UK has several Bluecoats Schools, the most famous being Christ's Hospital in Sussex. These are named after the pupils' 16th century attire of blue coats and knee breeches, still preserved in some places for special occasions. In Tudor times, blue was adopted by charitable foundations as it was the cheapest dye available for clothing.

The company is also announcing improvements to its product range, with a higher performance 800 series, and some new customers, including bookmakers William Hill.

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