McAfee Releases Version 8 Of Next-Gen Firewall

McAfee is delving further into the network security space just in time for Interop with the release of its next generation firewall.

The new release, McAfee Firewall Enterprise version 8, incorporates a slew of new functions, including the expansion of existing application protection, greater visibility and recognition and policy enforcement, as well as application identification and user awareness.

The McAfee Firewall Enterprise also features streamlined management by integrating with McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator platform, which lowers operating costs for organizations.

Specifically, McAfee's next generation firewall, which touts global reputation-based technology, features expanded application protection that allows administrators to have more granular control over the network and apply specific application policies that can be tailored to user identity.

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The release also includes McAfee TrustedSource, offering reputation-based geo-location and reputation filtering, which allows organizations to restrict network access to only well-reputed sites.

The latest firewall release also incorporates McAfee Firewall Profiler, a function which provides insight into how firewall rules affect businesses and users, while determining how to minimize the impact on organizations when rules are changed.

Executives contend there is an increased demand for next generation application firewall protection in light of the growing wave of Web 2.0 threats, such as viruses, Trojans, botnets and other malware.

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And in general, McAfee channel partners say that the release keeps pace with customers' demands for enhanced protections around Web 2.0 applications, such as Facebook and other social networking sites, as the threats become more stealthy and sophisticated.

"What a lot of customers are asking for is they want to provide granular access to the Internet, not necessarily for personal use, but business use," said Vasilis Karapanayiotis, solutions engineer for Accuvant, a Denver, Colo.-based solution provider. "This is an area that has been generating a lot of business for us lately," he said, adding that he underscores the need for next generation firewalls to customers by demonstrating how malicious traffic gets in through traditional perimeter-based firewalls.

"There's quite a bit of additional business that we can generate converting from first generation and helping customers with tuning and tweaking their internet access policy, and converting to application controls," he said. "If they want to achieve this kind of granular access, then we basically recommend that they look at next generation firewall technology."

While version 8 is not the first or only application firewall on the market, Dan Ryan, McAfee executive vice president and general manager of the network security business unit, said that what sets this release apart from competitive next generation firewall offerings is its simplicity and ability to consolidate myriad security functions and a multitude of firewall rules into easy-to-apply parameters.

And unlike others, Ryan said that the firewall utilizes the company's cloud-based application intelligence from its global threat protection network, which provides real-time detection for both internal and external threats.

The McAfee Firewall Enterprise is available now as a traditional appliance as well as a virtualized hardware appliance and a software-based virtual appliance.