Security product outbreak hits InfoSec Europe

Vendors show off their new wares at security show

LONDON -- Antispyware software, patch management tools, and compliance monitors are just some of the new wares being shown off by vendors at the InfoSecurity Europe show in London this week, where an already crowded security market looked a little more crammed.

"I'm predicting consolidation in the market but from the look of the floor this year, I could be wrong," Accenture Associate Partner Stuart Okin joked during his keynote address.

Over 300 exhibitors are crowding the grand hall at London Olympia, with stands sprawling onto the second floor for the first time. Vendors are launching some 120 products at the show, aimed at consumers, businesses and governments.

One of the show's hot topics is spyware, and there are plenty of products jostling for a place in the market. U.K.-based SurfControl PLC rolled out its new Enterprise Threat Shield on Tuesday, offering companies "spyware prevention" technologies. Threat Shield scans, removes and prevents spyware from infecting machines by drawing on threat data from the company's Adaptive Threat Intelligence Service, SurfControl said. The product will be available in the first week of May and price varies according to volume, it said.

Blue Coat Systems also had its eye on spyware, introducing a gateway appliance that blocks spyware from entering organizations by drawing on 10 different methods for identifying malicious programs. Spyware Interceptor is targeted at networks with up to 1,000 users; prices start at $2,295.

Regulatory compliance is another front-burner topic at InfoSecurity this year, with legislation such as Europe's Basel II and the U.S.' Sarbanes-Oxley weighing on the minds of many chief information officers (CIO). Basel's risk management standards and Sarbanes' financial and accounting reporting rules are pushing many firms to invest in technologies that can help them manage and protect their data.

A majority of companies' discretionary IT budgets are being taken up by Sarbanes compliance, and those budgets haven't expanded to accommodate much else, according to Accenture. Although Sarbanes comes from the U.S., it affects many international companies, Okin said.

Whale Communications and Secoda Risk Management are just two companies looking to target compliance-wary CIOs with a regulatory compliance tool for remote workers. The companies announced at the show that they are providing integration between Whale's SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) VPN (virtual private network) product and Secoda's RuleSafe compliance-management offering, allowing companies to enforce corporate policies for teleworkers.

Workers on the move are stirring other concerns too, around the security of mobile devices. Vendors at InfoSecurity have tuned into this fear, and are showing off a number of mobile security products. Kaspersky Lab Ltd., for instance, is demonstrating its recently introduced antivirus software for the Symbian operating system, and was offering a free beta version to attendees looking to secure their mobile phones.

One piece of good news for IT managers is that software vendors are getting on top of patching their vulnerabilities, according to Accenture's Okin. However, they are inconsistent with their releases, which can create headaches for IT managers looking to keep up to date with patching, he added.

To ease the burden, vendors are stepping up their tools for patch management. One such vendor is France's Criston, which introduced its Vulnerability Manager product Tuesday. The product offers threat notification, policy compliance, scanning and patching capabilities.

Patching is a reactive defense on the security front, and experts are increasingly promoting more proactive measures. Digital rights management for enterprises appears to be a hot topic for vendors, with the theory that system security isn't just about strengthening the perimeter, but also about implementing internal safeguards.

Microsoft announced the availability in Europe of its Windows Rights Management Services Service Pack 1 at the show, offering companies the ability to control access to business applications such as documents, e-mail and spreadsheets.

With rights management comes the question of identity and who has access to what. Insight Consulting, part of Siemens Communications, is just one of a number of companies at the show demonstrating identity management along with smart card technologies.

Of course, InfoSecurity's booths are still crowded with spam filters, new and improved firewalls, gateway security appliances, and encryption tools this year.

With so many security products on show, IT managers have plenty of choice, and are perhaps waiting for that much-promised industry consolidation after all.

InfoSecurity Europe runs through Thursday.

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