E&Y Security Unit Counting On VARs


ESecurityOnline, a security software subsidiary of Ernst & Young, this week plans to unveil a network of regional solution providers to sell its vulnerability management appliance.

The company, based here, also plans to disclose a manufacturing agreement with Dell Computer for its product, eSO Advisor. Under the agreement, Dell Computer will provide "custom factory integration services" by providing VARs with a specialized version of its PowerEdge 1650 server equipped with the eSO Advisor software.


Advisor taps vulnerability database to create list of company-specific risks.

Ken Hammond, vice president of business development at eSO, said the company built a channel of solution providers to sell Advisor because Ernst & Young is a services firm and its security consultants can't accept commissions from eSO.

"We need resellers to act as a pipeline to bring these solutions to the clients," he said.

While Ernst & Young and eSO consultants may recommend Advisor to customers, they must refer them to an authorized VAR to buy the product, eSO representatives said. Hammond added that Ernst & Young serves large enterprises, while Advisor is well-suited to the SMB market.

"We think we have a very good, affordable, proactive solution for some of these small and midsize companies that aren't even in the target range for Ernst & Young," Hammond said.

ESO has 13 partners that specialize in security and hopes to have 40 more partners by the end of the year.

Advisor, unveiled last fall, assesses the devices in a customer's network and then uses a vulnerability database compiled by Ernst & Young to create a list of risks specific to the company's particular systems and software. An administrator can apply patches or alter configurations based on the list.

The rack-mountable appliance costs $32,495 and automatically updates its vulnerability database as often as an administrator wants. It can inventory devices that use multiple platforms, including HP-UX, Windows NT and 2000, Sun Solaris and Red Hat Linux.

Morty Eisen, sales manager at Manchester Technologies, said Advisor is a comprehensive solution: "It combines a lot of functions and features into one appliance."

The Hauppauge, N.Y.-based solution provider initially had some concern that it might compete with Ernst & Young consultants on Advisor but was assured that the integrator can't resell it, he added.

Mark Frye, vice president of sales and marketing at Venture Technologies, a systems integrator in Ridgeland, Miss., said Advisor is unique in that it works within the corporate network rather than using an ASP model.