When it comes to securing networks, cleverness is just as important as strength. This year's Tech Innovators Award finalists for the Client/Network Security category exemplify how vendors are always trying to stay one step ahead of the bad guys.
The SonicWall Pro 1260 Enhanced platform showcases SonicWall's commitment to offering a broad range of security tools. The solution combines a deep-packet inspection firewall and IPSec VPN capabilities with wire-speed, 24-port auto-sensing MDIX workgroup switching into one appliance designed for small networks. The PRO 1260 can be configured as an unmanaged switch under SonicOS Standard or as an intelligent managed LAN switching platform through the SonicWALL PortShield architecture enabled in SonicOS Enhanced. The PortShield architecture enables all 24 ports to be configured into custom security zones, each with its own "virtual firewall," which secures the ports from the Internet and from other devices on the LAN.
Handheld USB devices have been a godsend to anyone who wants to take information from one PC to another, but their ease of use also has created a new type of security headache. Centennial Software has addressed this problem by creating DeviceWall, a solution that enables organizations to protect themselves against malicious and accidental computer misuse by managing access to USB sticks, iPods and other media players, PDAs, memory cards, and internal CD and DVD writers. The solution allows organizations to keep connections open for legitimate devices that are not capable of storing data, such as mice, keyboards and printers, while maintaining a user policy-based barrier against unauthorized connection of portable storage devices.
Finally, Juniper's NetScreen-5GT Wireless combines a firewall and secure access point into a single device targeted at the SMB market. It offers flexible support for wireless LANs, authentication technology and security polic. While it won't replace an enterprise-class wireless LAN switch, it offers a wide range of features for larger SMB organizations or ones that want to deploy multiple wireless LANS in their organization.
As the three security finalists show, size and strength matter less than guile and cunning when it comes to thwarting intruders.