|< Day Day Up >|| |
Established in 1996, Palisade Systems is a developer of Internet security products. The company's mission is to help client organizations manage and defend both internal and Internet-based networks from benign network utilization issues and malicious electronic attack or sabotage. It is the goal of their solutions to ensure user productivity, preserve bandwidth, reduce liability issues and increase overall network security.
As previously mentioned, CIPA requires schools and libraries to certify that they are either in compliance with filtering requirements, or that they are in the process of becoming compliant by evaluating blocking software. Palisade has addressed this opportunity with ScreenDoor, their first product introduced in 1997, which is a Web filter and has the flexibility that allows users to choose sites that are blocked by categories, such as shopping, travel, hate speech, sports and stock trading. ScreenDoor monitors and blocks Internet access by protocol, port and server address using Palisade's patented core technology. ScreenDoor's Screened Out list is easily editable. One can easily add sites to, monitor or block categories or override sites currently blocked by the list. ScreenDoor helps manage productivity, bandwidth and liability issues associated with Web surfing by filtering inappropriate Web sites. Palisade's major competitor in this market, Net Nanny, can only be used to block sites on individual computers (Symantech, 2002). Palisade products, however, are able to manage thousands of computers from one location. Therefore, Palisade can cater to schools and libraries that need to block sites on all computers accessed by students.
The explosive growth of Internet file sharing programs also poses a unique problem for both parents and their children. Teenagers who use programs like Napster, Gnutella and Morpheus to search for music could be exposed to objectionable material. The most popular parental filter programs like Net Nanny and SurfControl's CyberPatrol cannot block access to pornographic material obtained through file sharing programs. There is an urgent need to address this issue in a different way.
The Cyberterrorism Preparedness Act of 2002 aims to create a set of best computer security practices for the government. The bill has not yet been passed, but there is a good chance that it will pass. If this law is approved, companies will be required to follow the prescribed best practices. Even when the company does not do business directly with government, they still may be working for one that does. As a result, the company might find itself being required to use a government-approved firewall or intrusion detection system, or an improved network management system. In addition, there may be a need to enhance authentication. Companies will also find that there will be auditing and reporting requirements to demonstrate compliance. From Palisade's perspective this act is a potential boon in lean economic times. The bill will make available grant money for research into various aspects of security to universities, who in turn can then work with private companies like Palisade to come up with new approaches to address these issues (Webdesk, 2002). Secondly, the bill also includes tax incentives, such as an accelerated deprecation for the purchase of computer software. This additional tax benefit for the purchase of IT and software products will provide incentives for enterprises to purchase such products and could positively impact Palisade's sales. Finally, it will require more companies to comply with security measures which open up a larger customer base for Palisade. If enacted, this law would open up a bigger market for Palisade's PacketHound that can block file-sharing applications and therefore address problems dealing with security, legal liability or bandwidth hogging. PacketHound is a network appliance that allows system administrators to block, monitor, log, or throttle LAN access to an expandable list of unproductive or potentially dangerous protocols and applications. PacketHound protects the organization by managing network traffic using a flexible rule set. Companies can block an entire network from accessing certain protocols or applications, block all access except in one computer lab, or block on a machine-by- machine basis. They can also use time-based rules to block access during critical hours but allow its use at other times, and block based on network load or the load of specific applications.
In addition to ScreenDoor and PacketHound, Palisade offers other technology components/products addressing various aspects of the security market ranging from intrusion detectors to network monitors. Most companies try to stop Web surfing with either an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) or by installing firewalls or proxy servers. Although AUP can be set, it is extremely difficult to monitor and enforce these policies. When proxy servers and firewalls are employed, most of the network traffic has to pass through these devices which can lead to performance degradation. The danger is not just limited to performance degradation, but to the overall security of the enterprise. For example, most personal firewalls work by having a preset rules database that has a listing of trusted applications that it will allow access to and from the computer. This approach relies on someone knowledgeable about the particular product setting the appropriate rules which might not be the case for every instance of the product.
FireBlock addresses the network level access to services and systems on internal networks. It leverages Palisade's patented passive network management technology to not only track activity but also to enforce policy on the internal network. It operates at the network transport layer to track and control network activity based on source, destination and protocol employed. By limiting the internal network level access to only those services and machines actually required, FireBlock proactively compartmentalizes the network limiting unnecessary capabilities that enable illegitimate network activity. It also provides excellent information regarding network-level activity. It provides administration with information about incoming WAN (wide area network), VPN (virtual private network) or open firewall port traffic. FireBlock requires minimal training for use and little on-going maintenance.
No matter what kind of firewall, intrusion detection system or authentication security tools is in place, SmokeDetector can add another valuable layer of protection. SmokeDetector is a network appliance that detects intrusion activity in a network. It does not rely only on attack signatures , but acts proactively to protect the network without giving false positives or needing to continually update libraries of signatures. SmokeDetector is used to disguise critical servers and detect those trying to access them inappropriately. It is placed on a network as a 'decoy' to mimic the organization's important servers in order to confuse and delay hackers. While delaying a hacker from accessing assets, SmokeDetector also captures and logs all information communicated during the session and sends an immediate e-mail warning to the administrator. By the time the hacker determines he/she is accessing a fake server, the administrator already has all the needed information and has locked down the real assets. SmokeDetector also captures important information from the hacker and sends it to the administrator. The information contains the date and time of the attempt, the IP address of the emulation (or 'fake server') being accessed, the IP address of the person communicating with the SmokeDetector and a number indicating the 'alert level,' which is used to help the administrator gauge the severity of the attack.
Internal security breaches account for nearly 80% of all violations reported by businesses and government organizations (Palisade Systems, 2003). For years, companies have been focusing on how to protect from the outside threat, while ignoring what their own employees and trusted partners are doing on their networks. FireMarshal utilizes a role-based system for organizing users into groups called enclaves rather than relying on topology or system-focused groups. Enclaves allow the administrator to organize networks based upon business functions to protect and grant access to critical servers and resources. FireMarshal application allows it to enforce policies for FireBlock and SmokeDetector on a very granular level from the entire network domain down to a single machine. The versatility of FireMarshal is seen in its ability to perform a complete security function from implementation to monitoring and reporting.
Finally, with security becoming a regulatory issue, an opportunity has opened up for Palisade to address the growing needs of this market. For example, Congress passed HIPAA in 1996 to standardize the electronic transmission of data within the field of health care. The gist of the law was that any organization in the private or public sector that handled medical records must comply with rules for electronic data interchange, privacy and security. There are as many as two million companies that will need to comply with the bill (Woo, 2001).
|< Day Day Up >|| |