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Riverbed Adds Microsoft Security Software On WAN Appliance

Riverbed is announcing that Microsoft's Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG) will be available on Riverbed's Steelhead WAN optimization platform. TMG provides URL filtering, application proxying, and application and network-layer firewalling. With the introduction of TMG to the Steelhead platform, customers can enforce a consistent Web security policy for application protection, malware inspection and URL filtering at branch offices. Riverbed's Steelhead appliances include the Riverbed Services Platform (RSP), a VMware-based architecture that allows the device to run virtual appliances from select partners such Microsoft.

Though the TMG gateway also runs on a standard VMware platform, Riverbed argues that there are two major benefits to running the application on the appliance. First, IT managers gain "fine grained control" that lets them direct Internet data flows from the Riverbed WAN optimizer directly to TMG for security analysis. In addition, by consolidating the networking and security appliances onto a single platform, organizations simplify branch deployments and lower security costs. Microsoft is hardly new to Riverbed; the company is a gold partner for Microsoft, and Riverbed's Steelhead platform runs other Microsoft services including Windows Server 2008 R2 and Active Directory.

The TMG addition indicates the continuing need for Web-based protection, particularly from viruses and Trojans that can be delivered via the Internet. Malware continues to be a major concern for enterprises today. Of organizations that suffered a security breach last year, 86 percent were hit by viruses, worms, botnets or other malware, according to InformationWeek Analytics' 2010 Strategic Security Survey. Respondents also report spending more time on malware detection and analysis in 2010 compared to the previous year. In addition, IT managers indicate that concerns over virus/worm/malware infections grew by six or more percentage points since last year, according to Osterman Research's report, "Messaging and Web Security Market Trends, 2010-2013" due to be released next month.

Riverbed isn't the only WAN optimization company with a consolidated branch offering. WAN optimization vendors such as A10, Blue Coat and Silverpeak have introduced virtual appliances that run on VMware servers. But Riverbed is the only WAN optimization vendor attempting to own the platform within the branch. In addition to TMG, Riverbed already offers enterprises a selection of security offerings from McAfee, WebSense and Checkpoint. The addition of TMG places more pressure on other WAN optimization vendors to develop tighter integration between their products to offer a similar level of integration within the branch.

For Riverbed customers, the introduction of TMG gives them the another option in securing the branch. It further allows them to consolidate around Microsoft services with a simpler deployment model than would be possible if the services existed on their own servers. The Threat Management Gateway is priced at $1,499 and is available on Riverbed's 1050 model appliance and higher.