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Check Point targets small businesses

The Israeli security-software maker hopes to secure a greater share of small businesses and home offices with new firewall and virtual-private-network products.

Israeli security-software company Check Point Software Technologies will announce Tuesday an initiative focused on introducing small businesses and home offices to its firewall and virtual-private-networking software, in use at many large companies.

With the new push, Check Point will start selling network appliances designed to keep out hackers and allow secure communications between a company's far-flung sites for as low as $399, a far cry from its current low-end price of about $1,200.

"We believe that success in this market requires developing a simple, secure and affordable solution," Chip Schooler, senior product evangelist for Check Point, said Monday.

Along those lines, the company intends to release a version of its VPN-1/Firewall-1 software for the small and midsize business and remote offices. In addition, through its subsidiary SofaWare, Check Point will also offer appliances for small offices and home broadband users.

The move comes as new rivals carve out shares of markets that Check Point has largely ignored. In October, security-software maker Symantec announced products aimed at small and midsize businesses as well as home and remote offices and priced at $499 to $1,199.

Check Point's Schooler preferred to look at the bright side of competition. "Having competitors like that really validates the market for us," he said, adding that more challengers will mean the message of security will reach a wider audience.

The primary challenge for small businesses and home offices is making such products easy to use, he said.

The products will include automatic security updates and are designed to be installed in 10 minutes.