F5 Networks Expands Beyond Application Delivery, Launches Portfolio Of Security Solutions

F5 Networks is diving into the security market, launching on Wednesday a portfolio of security offerings for partners to complement its application delivery products.

The new Herculon security product line includes Herculon SSL Orchestrator, which provides dynamic service chaining and context-based policy management of the traffic flows between network security devices, including next-generation firewalls, secure web gateways, IPS, DLP and more. In doing that, companies can better orchestrate traffic, improve performance and detect attacks, Vice President of North American Channel Sales Aldo Dossola said. That includes visibility into encrypted traffic, a growing security gap for many companies as encryption becomes more wide-reaching, he said.

F5 also launched Herculon DDoS Hybrid Defender, which is a purpose-built solution for preventing application and underlying infrastructure DDoS attacks by simplifying the workflows around DDoS prevention, adding behavioral analytics and integrations with SIEM vendors like Splunk.

[Related: F5 Networks Partners: Buyout Could Lead To 'Significant Risk' For Channel]

Sponsored post

The Seattle, Wa.-based company also announced Silverline WAF Express, a self-service Software-as-a-Service offering for companies to choose which applicants web application firewall services are applied to. F5 also boosted its security services offerings, with a new Security Incident Response Team for monitoring, analysis, post-incident reports and recommended best practices, as well as its F5 Labs research and threat intelligence division.

John Van Blaricum, vice president of global marketing at Kudelski Security, a Switzerland-based top F5 partner, said the new solutions address specific security needs demanded by the global security solution provider's clients, especially around the need to gain visibility into encrypted network traffic.

"What F5 is addressing in this latest launch is being able to have that inline visibility into the encrypted traffic and be able to provide a better visibility into targeted attacks," Van Blaricum said. "I think the demand will be increasing. The propagation of encrypted traffic is going to go up, so the problem will only get worse."

Van Blaricum said it was good to see F5 expand to offer this type of solution, as its long history with clients around load balancing, application delivery and web application firewalls make it more trusted by clients. That will be a competitive advantage over other companies offering similar solutions, he said.

"The advantage of working with a company like F5 is they have this history and this depth… In security that trust factor is a critical component to how well a product or technology will be adopted. They certainly have an advantage when they sit down with a customer and say, 'you’ve made an investment in F5, now here's how you can leverage that investment and extend the value of what you’ve got.'"

Dossola said the launches are part of a pivot by F5 to bolster its security portfolio to complement its existing load balancing and application delivery offerings.

"Make no mistake that F5 is a security provider. We approach security from the application perspective because applications are what run the world," Dossola said. "This is just another step down that path in terms of driving our partners to have more to sell, better technology to sell and leverage best-in-class technology," he said.

That shift is driven by a changing security landscape, Dossola said, with a move away from perimeter security technologies and a decentralization of application delivery with the cloud. Those shifts are driving more and more customers' security operations teams to leverage F5's solutions indirectly through the network operations teams, Dossola said. Now, he said, F5 and its partners will be able to directly serve the security teams at its clients.

"Our traditional partners are more and more looking to get involved in and sell security-focused solutions. This is a wonderful opportunity because not only can they sell best-in-class application delivery controls, but now with this new release we're able to sell purpose-built security offerings to security operations and information security and have that direct connection," Dossola said.

Van Blaricum said that push from F5 is a huge win for Kudelski Security's business, as it is a security-focused solution provider that has F5 as one of its largest partners. While Kudelski had previously partnered with F5 primarily around the infrastructure side, Van Blaricum said F5's investments in security will allow it to be even more of a strategic vendor partner.

"We are a security company…The more focus that our good partners like F5 put on security-specific strategies, the better it is for us," Van Blaricum said.

Dossola said he couldn’t comment on what further security technologies can be expected from F5, but did say that partners can expect to see "exciting things happening in the company" when it comes to security and other technology areas.

"We are continuing to innovate," Dossola said. "There is a lot of investment going in security, cloud and, of course, our core business as well."