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Blue Coat Targets ROBO WAN Optimization, Security Via The Cloud

Blue Coat Systems is enhancing its MACH5 WAN optimization and virtual appliances so that remote office/branch office (ROBO) customers can apply Web security from Blue Coat Cloud Service to enable "branch-to-cloud" direct Internet access rather than back haul Internet traffic to and from the corporate data center. A branch-to-cloud topology lowers networking costs and speeds access to cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, says the company.

It was 10 months ago that Blue Coat announced the cloud service that leveraged its technology and the WebPulse community of more than 70 million users. The first subscription offer, the Web Security Module, debuted at the end of April.

Not to be confused with the other 14,100,000 Google listings for cloud-connector, Blue Coat's Cloud-Connector, which will ship Nov. 22, can automatically and transparently forward inbound and outbound Internet traffic to its cloud service, a scalable, Internet-delivered security service that provides real-time protection against Web-based threats without the need for on-location equipment or the requirement to update appliances, servers or user desktops. By subscribing to the service and activating the traffic forwarding option with the Cloud-Connector, a customer can immediately protect all users in the branch office from malware and other malicious content. A 30-day complimentary trial to evaluate the service is available.

Inbound Internet traffic often represents 45% to 65% of the total traffic crossing the WAN, according to recent WAN assessments performed by Blue Coat. The company says back hauling such a large amount of traffic adds considerable network expense and slows the responsiveness of all business applications, including cloud-based applications, which must traverse both the WAN and the Internet.

Cindy Borovick, program VP, enterprise and data center networks, IDC, sees this announcement as further evidence of Blue Coat's strategy to stand apart from the rest of the WAN optimization vendors: "It's a competitive differentiator for Blue Coat. For customers that have already invested in a Blue Coat appliance, it is a way to add this Web security service to their existing deployment. And as we start to talk about how IT departments are starting to re-architect remote office/branch offices, what Blue Coat is bringing to the table is a secure way to connect endpoints." There's also the added benefit that by consolidating that footprint at the branch, customers don't have to buy an appliance for every feature, she says.

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