May the force be with you

Sun Microsystems Inc., in partnership with CheckPoint Software Technologies Ltd., recently launched the iForce VPN Firewall, an all-in-one network security solution aimed at the small to medium-sized business.

Says Niall Moynihan, technical director of CheckPoint Software: "These days, as companies rely more and more on the Internet, the security threats are increasing ten-fold. At the same time, ICT administrators are worried that their network will be the victim of a malicious attack."

The general trend today is for ICT administrators to farm out their security; in essence washing their hands of the problem, and leaving it for somebody else to worry about. This is costing companies thousands of rands per month -- money that could be spent elsewhere.

Now, according to Sun and Checkpoint Software, companies do not need to spend this money anymore, and ICT administrators can confidently handle security in-house. The solution is said to come in the form of the iForce VPN/Firewall.

The iForce VPN/Firewall is claimed to be suitable for companies ranging from 50 to 500 users, and is designed to be an all-in-one solution: There are no bits and pieces which need to be bought after the initial device is installed. According to Moynihan it is very easy to setup, and even a novice with a bit of IP experience will be able to get it up and running. "All you need to do is unpack it, plug one lead into the mains, the other into the network and assign it an IP address. Once that is done, you just let it handle the rest," he says.

"What is more, the iForce enforces the barrier between the Internet and your company's private network, by expanding the security to include mobile users connecting remotely," continues Moynihan.

The iForce comes pre-installed with CheckPoint's VPN-1 NG software, running on a Linux-based operating system. According to the company, this means that the Firewall is extremely robust, and will provide a fail-safe security system for years to come. Once you have installed the iForce firewall, after sales support will be handled by Westcon Group Inc. with Sun hardware support.

Mouritz Snyder, product manager at Westcon, says, "We will be offering three support packages, namely bronze, silver or gold. Depending on the package chosen, we will offer anything from 24-hour telephonic support (the gold package), to a return-to-base option (the bronze option)."

"We even offer loan units which can be set up on a potential client's networks, thus letting them see for themselves what the iForce Firewall is all about," concludes Snyder.

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