Network Associates is getting into the appliance business.
The leviathan of the computer security business announced this morning it will release a series of WebShield E-ppliances for computer security. The new hardware, to be unveiled this week at NetWorld + Interop in Atlanta, combines the company's wide range of security software in a single box, including anti-virus, firewall and VPN software. The advantage of that, according to company officials, is that it is "plug and play". In other words, it's much easier to install on a network. CEO Bill Larson is expected to discuss the E-ppliances at a Wednesday evening keynote at the conference.
The benefits of hardware-based security devices and software-based security that runs on other machines such as Unix or NT-based servers have long been debated in the security community. While the hardware boxes are arguably easier to manage on a network and can avoid operating system vulnerabilities while providing a performance boost, critics say they can be inflexible and often hard to use in a malleable corporate environment.
The E-ppliance line incorporates the WebShield 100 E-ppliance, which includes McAfee Total Virus Defense software, and the WebShield 300 E-ppliance, which includes McAfee Anti-virus and Gauntlet Firewall/VPN software. Network Associates worked with Sun Microsystems (building on top of the Solaris platform), Hewlett-Packard, Frontier Communications and CoSine Communications on the E-ppliances.
HP will sell the E-ppliances through its own distribution channels, while Frontier will provide managed security services using the entire lines of Network Associates security software and hardware.