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Strategy Session: The Interop Hangover

This year's Interop show in Las Vegas made an impression on our editorial staff. From NWC tech editor Steven Hill lighting storage devices on fire, to judging the Best of Interop awards, to filming executive interviews with a number of movers and shakers, to participating in conference sessions, Network Computing editors were all over this show. Since each editor has a specific area of coverage, each found different announcements and technology demonstrations intriguing.

Generally, two things were clear about this year's Interop. First, this is no longer a networking show. With successful exhibitions and conference sessions on topics ranging from virtualization to Web 2.0, this is now a show with industrywide appeal. Second, the mood at the show was palpably positive, with attendance for both vendors and attendees way up.

For my part, two vendor presentations stuck out in my mind. One was impressive due to the complexity and enormity of the problem the vendor was trying to solve, and the other stood out because of its simplicity and its focus on solving a real customer problem.

WebSense--you know, the porn-blocker company--is working very hard to be known for more than just blocking porn. As malware and phishing attacks have overtaken other attacks, such as e-mail-borne viruses, WebSense has put more muscle behind its efforts to block ill-intentioned Web sites. But if you think it's just a matter of watching Web traffic for a few signatures, think again. The bad guys are innovating at an increasingly rapid pace. WebSense combines signatures, anomaly detection and reputation, along with some other common-sense and not-so-obvious metrics, to distinguish acceptable site behavior from malicious behavior. What's shocking is where WebSense has discovered malicious attacks--such sites as the Super Bowl, Microsoft and Google have been infected and have been the source for attacks. Look to see WebSense making more noise about its capabilities in this regard.

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