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Start-up ships security suite

Centrax ships an intrusion detection and response offering to protect data on corporate networks.

Security start-up Centrax today began shipping eNTrax Security Suite for Windows NT, an intrusion detection and response offering to protect corporate networks from both outside hackers and insiders seeking access to corporate data.

The software, called eNTrax, integrates security auditing policies and assessments plus detection and response into a single console that lets system administrators manage computers across a network from one central location. It is designed to reduce the resources required to manage enterprise security.

"Host-based intrusion detection protects your company from insider threats," said Paul Proctor, eNTrax chief technology officer. "It acts as a video camera on each computer in the enterprise that alerts you to misuse of each system or proprietary information by insiders."

But Centrax is moving into a market that has been hyperactive this year as bigger network and security players buy up small intrusion detection or network scanning firms. The latest came May 12, when Network Associates bought Secure Networks Incorporated for its network scanning tool.

In March, Internet Security Systems, described by analysts as the market leader for "adaptive network security," went public. Days later, Security Dynamics Technologies acquired Intrusion Detection, a month after Cisco Systems bought WheelGroup.

In October 1997, Trusted Information Systems bought Haystack Labs, but TIS itself was snapped up in February by Network Associates.

Centrax debuted in March, when it introduced auditing software called Centrax Audit Strategy Tool (CAST) to let administrators configure networked computers to log key data as a way to tell if someone was trying to break into the network.

Because eNTrax software resides on each protected server, it can monitor unauthorized use of data on those machines for attacks that aren't prevented by access controls or firewalls.

The software comes with ten predefined security policies for network managers to adopt or adapt, then replicate them onto remote machines on the network. It also analyzes machine configurations to check for vulnerabilities and logs unauthorized efforts to access data. A January Aberdeen Group report estimated the 1998 adaptive network security market for software at $100 million, double 1997's spending. That market includes tools for analyzing network weaknesses or "network scanning" and for detecting attacks on networks or "intrusion detection."

Centrax expects a fall update to eNTrax to add network monitoring to check for outsiders who may have broken into a network, probably licensed from another vendor. Currently eNTrax offers only host-based systems.

Centrax will market its software via both a small in-house sales force and resellers. Current pricing, designed for pilot testing or departmental use, for one console running 10 servers and 100 workstations is $13,000.