Secure Computing Outlines Gauntlet Plans


Secure Computing is working to develop a firewall that will combine features from its newly acquired Gauntlet technology with its Sidewinder firewall, executives said.

Secure Computing, based here, this week finalized its acquisition of Network Associates' Gauntlet firewall and VPN business. The purchase price was not disclosed.

In an interview with CRN, Tim McGurran, president and COO of Secure Computing, said the company hasn't finalized its plans but its goal is to have a single application-layer firewall offering.

"We plan to go to one code base and the code base would contain the significant features and functions that Gauntlet and Sidewinder customers know and love," he said.

He expects the company's new firewall offering will be developed by the end of the year and will be based on the Sidewinder architecture.

Secure's Gauntlet acquisition, which was unveiled earlier this month, puzzled some solution providers because both Gauntlet and Sidewinder are application-layer firewalls.

McGurran said Secure's main goal with the acquisition was to expand its market reach by obtaining the 4,000 Gauntlet customers. Secure will offer its other products, which include authentication and access control solutions, to those customers, he said.

The deal with Network Associates included the customer support contracts but did not include acquisition of the 100 Gauntlet VARs. Secure is working to sign up those solution providers, McGurran said.

Mark Schulstad, director of sales and marketing at Seattle-based Conjungi Networks, said his firm met with Secure representatives this week and was impressed. Conjungi sold Gauntlet firewalls.

"All factors considered, this looks like a positive move for both us and ultimately our customers," Schulstad said.

Secure appears "to be a company paying more than lip service to being devoted to the channel," he said. Also, Conjungi is interested in Secure's other technologies such as its token-based authentication, he said.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Network Associates put its Gauntlet product line up for sale last October when it dissolved its PGP Security division as part of a corporate cost-cutting initiative. Network Associates said previously it expects the moves to save $50 million.

"Secure was the only logical candidate [for Gauntlet" said Eric Hemmendinger, analyst at Aberdeen Group.

Many Gauntlet customers are federal entities, and Network Associates looked for a buyer that would be seen as trusted and reputable according to those customers, he said.

"For Network Associates, the important thing was to find a home for this business rather than making money off the sale," he said.

McGurran said Secure is getting feedback from Gauntlet customers on what features they like in the product, and he expects the new firewall will retain Gauntlet's embedded antivirus features.

"There was a lot of fear and uncertainty among Gauntlet customers" when Network Associates put the product line up for sale last fall, he said.

"They can rest assured that the future will be very, very bright," McGurran said.