Dell Debuts Integrated Security for Midsized Businesses

Thursday Jul 29th 2010 by Stuart J. Johnston
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For medium-sized companies that can't afford enterprise-class security, Dell aims to put it all together as one-stop-shopping.

Dell launched a new, three-pronged security initiative on Wednesday that combines its own and Juniper Networks' hardware appliances with services provided in partnership with SecureWorks.

Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) is shooting to provide midsized businesses with a flexible, total security solution built on deploying defense in multiple layers -- a growing requirement as networks become more complex and attacks more sophisticated.

At the same time, Dell sees itself as the right party to be the focal point for providing comprehensive security at prices, and with levels of service and ease-of-use, that midsized businesses can afford.

"We're providing comprehensive security solutions for midsized businesses [because] there's no one product that does it all in a layered approach," Paulette Altmaier, Dell's vice president for SMB Solutions, told Small Business Computing.

The company made a comprehensive announcement of hardware and services to cover three major areas of security technologies aimed at providing midsized businesses with the level of protection that's available to enterprises at a fraction of the cost.

For starters, under an agreement the two firms inked last fall, Dell is marketing a pair of Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR) network security appliances as the Dell J-SRX Services Gateway Series, available now.

"Traditional approaches to network security have pushed complexity and escalating costs directly onto the customer, usually the business or IT buyer," Alex Gray, senior vice president and general manager of Branch Office Solutions at Juniper, said in a statement.

"Juniper and Dell can deliver significant value for these customers by driving network security simplification," Gray added.

The two companies have plans to add more capabilities to the appliances over time, according to Dell's statement. "These network security appliances provide best-in-class firewall, VPN, intrusion prevention, anti-spam, anti-virus and Web filtering technologies to secure the network, replacing legacy firewall/VPN/IPS devices," the statement added.

The base J-SRX Services Gateway starts at $645, a Dell spokesperson told Small Business Computing in an email.

Multiple Layers of Protection

Dell's intent is not to stop at the network security layer, however. To provide threat prevention and protection at network endpoints, such as PCs, laptops and mobile devices like smartphones, Dell is offering its own KACE K1000 security management appliance, and secure browser. Dell purchased KACE Networks in February.

"We've heard for years that endpoint security is a major pain point for customers," Altmaier said.

The KACE appliance enforces corporate standards for firewalls, antivirus settings, security, and blacklisted executables, according to Dell.

Besides managing endpoint security, the KACE appliances, which are available now, provide system inventory, helpdesk and application deployment, as well as key security features such as vulnerability assessment and remediation via patch management and configuration enforcement, Dell's statement said.

"The K1000 includes the recently announced Dell KACE Secure Browser, which uses application virtualization to reduce Internet-based security risk," the statement added.

Dell's KACE K1000 line is priced by the seat with a minimum of 100 seats, Altmaier said.

The Final Layer Is Services

Part of Dell's initiative, though, is directed towards what can be a vexing situation for midsized firms that may not have enough personnel to provide comprehensive management for a layered security approach.

For that, the PC maker engaged with security services provider SecureWorks. Among its expertise, SecureWorks has a specialty in regulatory compliance issues, including PCI (Payment Card Industry, Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), and others.

SecureWorks will provide a portfolio of services, called Dell Security Services powered by Secureworks, which is designed to "help customers identify, monitor and manage security risks, and compliance needs," the companies said.

On the list of services that SecureWorks aims to deliver to customers by the end of the year are security monitoring, management, and remediation of firewalls and security devices, security assessments, and Web application scanning on a 7-days-a-week, 24-hours-per-day on an outsourced basis.

"It lets customers decide what they want to do and how," Altmaier said.

At least two analysts view Dell's announcement as a sound move in a market space that's fragmented among multiple vendors, none seemingly providing one-stop-shopping for security.

"Particularly in the medium-sized business market, to be able to get this all from a single vendor would be a good way to go about it," Charles King, principal analyst at researcher Pund-IT, told Small Business Computing.

Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, agrees with King.

"It's a very complicated space [and] we don't have a single firm that can do that today," Enderle said. However, with solid execution Dell could make it work.

"The power of this is in the solution ... the value is that Dell is pulling a lot of stuff together," Enderle added.

All of the products and services will be available from Dell as well as from the approximately 60,000 members of its Global PartnerDirect program.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

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