McAfee unveils security gateways

McAfee this week unveiled a line of multi-purpose Internet security appliances intended for content filtering, taking its first step into gateway-based anti-spyware protection.

McAfee's Secure Web Gateway, available in either the 100M bit/sec model 3300 or the 200M bit/sec model 3400, fends off spyware and viruses and provides URL-based filtering. The appliances, which just started shipping, earned the top score in Network World's recent "Enterprise Spyware" test of dozens of gateway and desktop products.

In that review, the Secure Web Gateway model 3300 was effective in detecting and blocking 90 per cent of the spyware launched against it, narrowly beating out competing products from Trend Micro, Aladdin Knowledge Systems and Blue Coat Systems.

McAfee last week also announced a second appliance called the Secure Messaging Gateway, which filters out viruses and spam at the rate of up to 210,000 messages per hour.

A third appliance, the Secure Internet Gateway, combines the features of Secure Web Gateway and Secure Messaging Gateway into an appliance for up to 1,000 users. It's available in two models, the 3100, which can filter up to 60,000 messages per hour, and the 3200, which can filter 120,000.

All three appliances can be managed using McAfee's central management console, ePolicy Orchestrator.

Jack Marsal, senior product marketing manager for secure content appliances at McAfee, says the new line replaces McAfee's lower-speed WebShield line, which he acknowledged had been a sales failure.

McAfee also offers desktop anti-spyware products. Marsal says McAfee is neutral on the question of whether enterprise customers should use a gateway, desktop software or both to protect against spyware. "Both have their strengths, but we have no official recommendation for one or the other," Marsal says.

The recent Network World anti-spyware tests -- as well as the Burton Group consultancy in its report "Enterprise Strategies for Defending Against Spyware" published last month -- reached the conclusion that gateway-based filtering of spyware is much less expensive, easier to deploy and as effective as desktop filtering.

However, once a desktop becomes infected, desktop anti-spyware is an efficient way to remove the infection rather than struggling with it manually, points out Marsal. "But there is better price-performance on the gateway side," he acknowledged.

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Ellen Messmer

Network World (US online)

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