Mobile

Pilot gives road warriors Net security

Pilot's upcoming telecommuter service promises corporate road warriors a secure Internet connection.

Calling itself the first "secure ISP," Pilot Network Services will add a secure telecommuting option to its service menu for large companies that want secure Internet connectivity for corporate road warriors.

Pilot's service lets companies link to the Internet through Pilot's secure network service center, which guards against unauthorized entry into private corporate networks.

The telecommuter service, which uses technology from VPNet, is the latest in a line of services offered by Pilot. Last month Pilot launched a virus-scanning service to block harmful viruses from passing into corporate networks, using technology from Trend Micro.

"We have our own virtual private network (VPN), which could be called an extranet, and outside connections to the Internet," said Marketta Silvera, Pilot's CEO. "All our customers have to worry about is their own business while we connect them through our secure service centers."

Pilot uses what it calls a "dynamic firewall" to guard its network. "It evolves and gets upgraded through attacks. It learns from itself, and we can automate defense techniques in our proprietary defense and deterrent service," said Silvera.

In March, she added, Pilot logged 35 million denials to unauthorized users.

The telecommuter service works by installing special software on the user's laptop to create an "encrypted tunnel" to protect transmissions. The software encrypts the data and sends it from the user's machine through any Internet connection to Pilot's service center, where the user is authenticated and the data decrypted before it is sent to the corporate network.

The telecommuter service is in beta testing today and is due to be available to Pilot customers in the third quarter. Pilot also hosts Web sites and offers a Web-filtering component that blocks employees from visiting Web sites ruled off-limits. The filtering service uses SmartFilter technology (formerly WebTrack) from Secure Computing

Pilot's basic service costs from $5,000 to $15,000, plus set-up fees of $12,000 to $20,000 and extra charges for additional services. No pricing has been set for the telecommuter service. Customers include Playboy Enterprises, PR Newswire, MGM, PeopleSoft, Golfweb, and The Gap.

Pilot sells its service through its own direct sales force and an alliance with GE Capital Technology Management Services. Founded in 1993, Pilot's investors include GE, El Dorado Venture, Technology Funding, and private investors.