Nortel makes security push

Symantec joins for strategic relationship

Nortel Networks is pushing its security features to the forefront with a series of updated products and a new relationship with security vendor Symantec.

Nortel's new security products include new remote access security solutions and threat protection capabilities designed to improve access security for remote workers and to detect and shut down threats from anywhere within a customer’s network.

"We believe that in the future, security will be layered throughout a network and we want to provide it in every product we deliver," said Atul Bhatnagar, general manager and vice president of enterprise networks at Nortel.

The latest products with additional endpoint security features from Nortel include its Nortel VPN Tunnel Guard for SSL VPNs. VPN Tunnel Guard enforces security policies on all VPN endpoints, allowing administrators to define endpoint security policies on Nortel VPN gateways and ensure all users or devices connecting to the VPN gateway are inspected for compliance. Tunnel Guard also gives end-users automatic updates to ensure that every device connecting to the network is compliant with current corporate security policies.

Nortel's Ethernet Routing Switch 8300, formerly known as Passport 8300, has been given an enhanced authentication capability enabled with Extensible Authentication Protocol, which allows multiple means of end-user authentication, including passwords, token-based challenge, and response as well as PKI certificate exchange.

All of these new products and features are a part of Nortel’s continuing drive to deliver on its vision to secure and protect critical information by providing reliable and secure trusted communications capabilities for voice, data, and multimedia and video across multiple devices, said Bhatnagar. "Security for Nortel is a very important part of our strategy going forward. We want to build security into the DNA of our products, and that is what these products demonstrate," he said. More security-oriented products will follow next year, said Bhatnagar.

As evidence of Nortel's commitment to security, Bhatnagar pointed to Nortel's strategic relationship with Symantec, also announced today. "Our strategy here is to bring Symantec's world class expertise on evaluating threats and being proactive about how those threats can be taken care of with Nortel's ability to provide a world class network infrastructure. We want to bring our network expertise together with their security expertise," he said.

The first initiative in the strategic relationship will be to develop next-generation solutions to provide a defense against a wide variety of threats and eliminate many specific threats before they have the opportunity to spread, according to company officials. When deployed in a datacenter, the technology is expected to address the most dangerous attacks within the high-speed, switched network before they can reach the servers.

Based on Nortel’s application switch portfolio, the prototype tracks and stops threats using signatures updated in near real-time by Symantec’s LiveUpdate technology, according to officials at both companies.

According to analysts, security for networks needs to be built in to be effective.

"Enterprises require network solutions to protect their infrastructure not only from end-users that may inadvertently compromise security from remote access-based threats but also from threats carried in the network that require immediate isolation and containment,” said Zeus Kerravala, vice president of enterprise infrastructure at The Yankee Group.

“By addressing both aspects in tandem, companies can avail themselves of the most comprehensive measures to protect the entire infrastructure, whether in a hosted, managed model from service providers or whether they deploy their own networks,” Kerravala said. “Without addressing threats from internal and external sources, regardless of whether those threats are malicious or accidental, enterprises risk adopting a security posture based on false assumptions that effectively lock the front door while leaving the back door wide open," he said.

The new products with new security features will be available this quarter or early next quarter, Nortel officials said.