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Cisco to unveil security products

The networking company aims to offer end-to-end security for its customers, including software to protect corporate desktops and servers.

Lending new credence to the saying, "the more, the merrier," Cisco Systems plans to announce 14 security products and services on Tuesday.

The offers are part of the company's new aim to provide end-to-end security for its customers, including selling more software to an area that Cisco has rarely touched: the corporate desktop PC.

"Companies are looking for a single, integrated solution in the form of a single provider, to keep control of their networks," said Jeff Platon, senior director of product and technology marketing. "Using three different boxes and three applications to control them is not going to cut it anymore."

The updated and new products include three security management products, three hardware-based accelerators for the company's VPN (virtual private network) products, and five new components to its intrusion detection system, one of which protects desktop PCs from potential threats, and another that does the same for servers. Three others, including a new version of the company's VPN client for desktop PCs, are also due to be announced.

"Cisco aims to be a major provider of security by embedding it into their routers and systems and (by moving) to more desktop and host server security," said Charles Kolodgy, research director for market research company IDC.

In one of the major pieces of Cisco's forthcoming announcement, the network-hardware maker said it intends to license security management software from netForensics and rebrand it as CiscoWorks Security Information Management Solution (SIMS). The software is designed to help administrators monitor security devices from Cisco and other companies.

Kolodgy said that Cisco could support competitors' products, without competitors having to provide information to Cisco that they might not want disclosed to the company, underscoring the reason that Cisco may have had for using another company's technology instead of its own.

Two other products that will be announced came out of Cisco's purchase of intrusion detection company Okena.

The Cisco Security Agent for Desktops aims to stop attacks on corporate PCs by looking for anomalous network behavior and blocking it; Cisco Security Agent for Servers does the same for the heavy lifters of the corporate network.

Cisco has already signaled its intention to move into other markets, such as the home, from which it traditionally has shied away. In March, the company said it would buy consumer-oriented network hardware maker Linksys in a stock deal worth about $500 million.