Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Securing Small Business Networks

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face an uncomfortable dilemma. They're exposed to the same security threats as large organizations (worms don't care if you're listed on the NASDAQ or just in the local white pages), but they don't have the budget for enterprise-priced solutions or the staff to maintain them. Two companies recently announced new services that address enterprise threats at SMB prices.

The first is ClearPath Networks, whose SNAP VPN appliance includes a firewall, anti-virus scanning using Trend Micro's scan engine, intrusion detection and prevention capabilities, content filtering, and remote and site-to-site VPNs using SSL. The company recently launched three new appliances: the 2401, which supports 50 concurrent users; the 3401, which supports 100 concurrent users; and the 5401, which supports 250 concurrent users. Each appliance includes SNAP View, a Web-based management system that controls all the security features.

"Most solutions are 'best-of-breed' point products, but SMBs need a comprehensive solution that's 'good enough,'" says Cliff Young, CEO of ClearPath. He says his product bridges an affordability gap by including multiple security functions in a single device.

ClearPath sells the SNAP VPN through resellers. Customers can buy a standalone device to manage themselves, or they can rely on resellers, many of which provide a full security management service using the SNAP VPN appliance. Pricing starts at $3,600 for the appliance, plus $1,080 for a one-year service fee. The service fee covers anti-virus and signature updates, content filtering updates, software and/or firmware updates, and support.

Digital Defense's Frontline 3.0 is a managed vulnerability assessment service that lets customers run unlimited scans on both internal and network-facing devices. Digital Defense uses Internet-based scanners and an appliance deployed at the customer premises to detect known vulnerabilities, poor device configuration, and other exposures (such as weak passwords). The company also offers penetration testing services.

  • 1