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WatchGuard Unveils Vision of Extensible Network Security

WatchGuard Technologies has announced its vision of taking unified threat management (UTM) to the next level of performance, scalability, high security, investment protection and end-user choice with its extensible threat management (XTM) and connectivity solutions.

In 2004 industry analyst firm IDC coined the term UTM to describe integrated network appliances that perform firewall, gateway anti-virus, and intrusion detection/prevention services. By 2008, WatchGuard added a host of new, extensible services, such as virtual private networking (SSL VPN), advanced web (HTTP and HTTPS), application and content filtering, e-mail/spam blocking even security for VoIP (SIP and H.323). Now, WatchGuard is redefining the network security market with its vision of taking UTM to the next level with XTM solutions.

Threats are becoming more sophisticated and less conspicuous. This leaves networks vulnerable to extremely targeted attacks that include blended threats, such as phishing e-mails with malware payloads. The challenge is to give businesses threat management solutions that not only adapt, but can proactively address future and unknown threats so that high security is always maintained.

Adding to this, most network administrators work in mixed network environments of disparate infrastructure components and solutions. For these administrators, it is imperative to have a flexible and scalable gateway security appliance that can be modified, updated and customized to meet their particular security profiles and postures.

Extensibility means having the ability to add on to or extend. WatchGuard's XTM vision is built upon the premise that network security solutions fundamentally need to have this quality. XTM appliances must be able to proactively adapt to dynamic network environments as well as protect against unknown, future threats. With extensible protection, as businesses grow, so too does their security platform.

WatchGuard XTM stands for the extensibility needed for management and control. Network administrators do not have cookie-cutter environments. Each is unique and thus has individualized needs and concerns. WatchGuard recognizes this and builds extensibility into its management and user control features so that administrators can maximize their XTM investment to best suit their network and user needs.

WatchGuard XTM represents extensible choice. Not only do XTM appliances need to fully interoperate and support mixed network infrastructures, but they need the inherent security technology to be flexible, too. This way, administrators can pick and choose the security service that they want from the XTM device. For example, some may want anti-virus (AV) protection provided at a different source other than the gateway. Here, an administrator could turn "off" the AV protection at the XTM appliance, while maintaining full firewall, IPS/IPS as well as web content filtering at the network gateway. With WatchGuard XTM, the choice of security services is ultimately up to the customer.

WatchGuard XTM provides extensible ownership. WatchGuard leads the industry with software upgradeable UTM devices. This allows businesses to maintain high security without having to rip out and replace older devices, giving unmatched asset protection and lower total cost of ownership. WatchGuard will continue to provide this extended life and functionality with its next generation, XTM appliances.

Lastly, the WatchGuard XTM vision opens the doors to extensible market opportunities. WatchGuard envisions uptake of a new class of managed security service providers (MSSPs), who wish to provide highly reliable, "in the cloud" managed security services to their customers. As well, WatchGuard foresees the possibility of providing a software platform, similar to that of other extensible applications, such as XML, so that third-party developers can create customized security applications that are tailor-made for WatchGuard XTM appliances.



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