Alcatel Looks To Secure Perimeter

The move, which Alcatel plans to announce this week, is a direct attack on Network Access Control (NAC), developed by rival Cisco Systems. CrystalSec stands to offer attack prevention and attack containment, as well as a host of other features, according to Alcatel.

Brian Witt, director of product marketing at Alcatel, Calabasas, Calif, said CrystalSec will enable VARs to integrate new Alcatel routers with whatever perimeter security hardware that customers have, eliminating the need to buy specially designated firewalls to match their routers.

"We think this trend of security devices working together with other devices in the network is a good thing," Witt said. "With that in mind, we're trying to expand CrystalSec along those lines of compatibility."

The centerpiece of the framework is Alcatel's new Automated Quarantine Engine software, which collects data from intrusion detection and prevention systems and dynamically reconfigures the network to contain attacks. The framework also includes Alcatel's OmniSwitch dynamic virtual LAN.

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By integrating those technologies with authentication software from Sygate Technologies, Alcatel allows perimeter security devices to move from a quarantine virtual LAN (vLAN) to a working vLAN with no user intervention, which slashes total cost of ownership, Witt said.

Solution providers welcomed the cost savings potential but voiced more approval of the advanced compatibility. "Whereas before you had to worry about using a compatible IDS, now I can use any one of them for quarantine containment," said Ron Goodband, COO of Advance 2000, Williamsville, N.Y. "In the long run, this will enable us to get into more customer environments and make more money."

Pricing wasn't available at press time, but Witt said the improvements won't require additional switch upgrades for current OmniSwitch customers.