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Security Platforms/Tools

Blue Coat Scales Smartphone Security

Blue Coat Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BCSI) today announced expansions in its secure Web gateway products that will enable service providers to offer more robust managed security services by using URL filtering to protect smartphones.

The enhancements include performance upgrades for the Blue Coat flagship product, the Blue Coat Proxy SG, now available in a 9000 series that offers five times more performance and throughput up to a gigabit per second. Blue Coat is also introducing the Blue Coat ProxyAV 1400 and 2400 Series appliances for high-performance inline malware scanning, and improvements in the advanced threat analysis capabilities in its Secure Gateway Operating System (SGOS) version 5.5, which Blue Coat claims will improve the performance of both appliances by 40 percent.

The service provider angle
Blue Coat sells its secure products directly to enterprises but also provides managed security service options to telecom service providers. (See BT Pulls On Blue Coat.) One benefit of these performance upgrades is the ability to serve more customers with less equipment in a more efficient way, says Tom Clare, senior product marketing director for security products.

As part of its product line upgrade, Blue Coat has also enhanced its WebPulse service, to include custom script analyzers, a machine analyst, Web correlation tools, and more, aimed at identifying and quickly reacting to new Web threats.

The proliferation of smartphones has increased the need for in-line filtering within the network, Clare contends. Blue Coat is working with companies such as Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) to provide network-based protection against a new generation of Web threats, which use link farms to fool search engines into ranking them with legitimate sites, and redirect users who click on the phony site in order to launch malware. Adding that kind of security to the phones themselves is less practical and would likely drive up the cost of handsets.

”You want to detect those and cut them off at the choke point,” Clare says. “We can block the malware without blocking the search engine or the legitimate sites.

As part of WebPulse, Blue Coat maintains its own cloud-based master database of bad sites and addresses and pushes that information out to its appliances on a real-time basis, rather than waiting for daily or periodic updates, according to Clare.

”If a [Web-based threat] is able to stay up on Google for an hour, it’s considered a solid hit for them; if it stays up for two hours, it’s a grand slam. So update cycles aren’t fast enough. We push the information out on a real-time basis.”

The performance enhancements enable the Blue Coat appliances to provide this protection in a scalable way. The Blue Coat ProxySG appliances now support up to 60,000 users in a single appliance, or up to 240,000 concurrent users in a single rack.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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