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Check Point Software is to place greater emphasis on internal and Web security technology in future product development. The company is best known to date for its perimeter security VPN and firewall products.

The thinking behind the revised product strategy is to supply Check Point with the means to deliver an integrated approach in which it provides multiple levels of protection against new security threats, such as application attacks and Internet worms.

So far, products details are vague, but Check Point promises to deliver a new type of application-aware gateway to segment internal networks during the first quarter of next year. Such an approach would help companies better defend themselves against the internal spread of worms like Blaster, the company says.

It also says it will introduce Web-based single sign-on and access control in an integrated Web security product also in Q1, 2004. This is Check Point's response to recent moves by its principal competitors into the emerging SSL VPN market.

Last month NetScreen acquired SSL VPN market leader Neoteris in a deal valued at $265 million. Symantec and F5 have also recently bought into the market whilst Cisco last week introduced SSL VPN support to its VPN 3000 Series Concentrator line.

The SSL-based remote access market will exceed $600 million by 2006, according to Infonetics Research, the analyst firm. The technology scores over earlier IPSec-based VPN technology because it eliminates the need to install client software on PCs. Meta Group forecasts SSL-based technology will be the dominant method for remote access, with 80 per cent of users utilising SSL, also by 2005/6.

Marius Nacht, Check Point's co-founder and CTO, told The Register in June that the company wanted to become leader in clientless remote access. So how will it do this when it hasn't updated its technology since July 2002, we wondered?

Nick Lowe, Check Point director for Northern Europe, said what rival vendors have so far brought "point products" to market. These lack the management capabilities that Check Point intends to introduce to its SSL VPN offering.

"SSL VPN appliances are just one part of the jigsaw, which needs to be complemented with the ability to manage and deploy technologies securely. Point products can be horrendous to manage and open up corporate content to various dangers", he said.

This year Check Point has concentrated on making its existing technologies available to medium size enterprises at more attractive prices. Check Point says that next year will see the company expand its portfolio in the internal and Web security marketplaces. ®

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