Unisys, ISS launch threat-protection service

RSA 2002: Large enterprises can now pay for threat detection as a service. But the duo remains cagey about pricing

Services vendor Unisys is marketing a new threat protection service from Internet Security Systems (ISS). According to the duo, the deal provides a way to use general engineering skills to deliver such services more cheaply -- although the companies were reluctant to quote a price. The Dynamic Threat Protection Service monitors intrusion detection systems within the user company and raises an alert within ten minutes if there is an attack. The service is intended for users who require more than five IDS systems, typically on five sites. It was launched at RSA Security in Paris on 9 October and will be offered worldwide. Unisys staff will monitor unusual events that are picked up by the IDS systems, and alert the user if the activity is malicious. Typically, customers will ask for an alert rather than handing over the responsibility for blocking traffic, said Terrence Peters, European security services practice director for Unisys. "Our clients are sensitive about giving control over," he said. "If something is blocked overnight which is needed for the transfer of $100m (£64m), it will not go down well." ISS has offered security services for some time, but Unisys has a longer experience with outsourcing and its service level agreements are mature, said Xavier Juredieu, marketing director, EMEA for ISS. Unisys is also able to bring to bear general-purpose grades of engineer, so that staff who are simply plugging in boxes are not overqualified, which would make the overall service more expensive. "The security expertise is in the design, not in the deployment," said Peters. However, Unisys would not quote a price for the service, suggesting it is just for large companies. Like the chic clothes boutiques in the lower floors of Paris' Palais des Congres, where the RSA Conference is taking place, Unisys has no need of price tags, because if you have to ask, you can't afford it. The service is also put together differently for different customers, said Peters. Intriguingly, the service may also have an element like an insurance company's "no-claims bonus". "If activity is lower than expected, we will reward the customer with other services," said Peters. Both companies are open to other partners. "We have chosen ISS, as it has global presence and technology, but we are sensitive to our clients. If they choose a different system, we will go with that," said Peters. "We have a few in mind, but so far have only worked with ISS."

More enterprise IT news in ZDNet UK's Tech Update Channel.

For a weekly round-up of the enterprise IT news, sign up for the Tech Update newsletter. Have your say instantly, and see what others have said. Go to the ZDNet news forum. Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom.