Dalton Goes for ServGate Security

ISP tosses some Cisco gear in favor of a firewall with application security

May 6, 2004

2 Min Read
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Reflecting an ongoing need for more application security, broadband Internet provider Dalton Utilities has picked up security gear from ServGate Technologies Inc. over Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) PIX firewalls at its Georgia data center.

Dalton Utilities, which serves customers in northwestern Georgia, implemented ServGate's EdgeForce Accel application gateways to combat spam and viruses across the company's OptiLink fiber-to-the-home network. According to John Davies, Dalton's assistant manager for telecommunications, the PIX firewall had not been meeting the company's requirements: "We were having some problems with functionality there were a lot of VPN and IPsec problems."

Then there were the financial considerations. Davies says, "The price difference between deploying a number of PIXs and a number of ServGates was significant: The PIX was easily a third more expensive."

A spokesman for Cisco said that the San Jose, Calif.-based company does not comment on competitive business transactions. Cisco has been on a mission to beef up its security portfolio – acquiring a diverse range of smaller, specialist security vendors (see Cisco's Security Spree Continues, Cisco Buys Psionic, and Cisco Completes Okena Buy).

The EdgeForce Accel offers virus scanning, spam filtering, Web caching, URL filtering, and VPN features. It uses a technology called Full Context Inspection (FCI), which screens packet contents and blocks anything that is suspicious before it reaches the home user.The new products, which were deployed around the time of the Bagle virus earlier this year, proved themselves immediately, stopping hundreds of thousands of infected email attachments.

Not surprisingly for a company in its position, protecting customers is crucial for Dalton. Davies says, "As an ISP, we're held responsible for what happens over the network."

This highlights a rising trend in security circles – that is, the need for firewalls that provide application security and anti-virus features.

ServGate technology includes anti-virus capability, according to Davies, who estimates that up to 15 percent of the 3,000 emails sent across its network each day are infected. He says, "Anything that gives me control to stop anybody from becoming infected and then passing that on through the Internet is a plus."

Dalton has so far deployed two EdgeForce Accels, and is planning to roll out four more as the business expands and the company offers new services. At the moment, the company has approximately 2,500 customers using its broadband service, although this number is growing by around 20 a day.Davies also expects that the EdgeForce Accels will support Dalton's future strategy. He says, "I feel that ServGate will be able to easily accommodate new forms of Internet service," including such innovations as broadband phones.

Dalton also expects to make use of the Gigabit Ethernet uplink on the EdgeForce Accel, as the company is currently planning to replace its 10/100 lines at some point in the future.

— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-gen Data Center Forum

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