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HP, others join Check Point's OPSEC alliance

Top-selling firewall vendor Check Point adds Hewlett-Packard and several ISPs to its alliance roster.

Broadening its alliances in the security field, top-selling firewall vendor Check Point (CHKPF) will announce partnerships tomorrow with Hewlett-Packard (HWP) and several ISPs that offer managed security services to corporations.

Check Point said 35-plus new members boost the number of companies in its Open Platform for Secure Enterprise Connectivity alliance (OPSEC), its effort to build ties to other network management and security firms, to more than 110.

"Options for solutions are going to expand because of [OPSEC]," said Doug Dixon, product manager of CompuServe Network Services, an ISP with 1,400 customers that has joined OPSEC. About 30 percent of its customers contract for security services.

"We now have a voice to other potential vendors to CompuServe who would provide other solutions to our customers," said Dixon, whose company is being acquired by WorldCom.

The OPSEC alliance, which is boosted when a major firm such as HP joins, is part of Check Point's effort to buttress its market share against the entry of bigger players into the network security space. Check Point is reportedly working on network management software vendors Computer Associates and IBM's Tivoli operation to join OPSEC, too.

Check Point's expanded enterprise security framework comes as networking giant Cisco has entered the firewall space with two products and a security alliance of its own. Network Associates, which resulted from the merger of McAfee and Network General, is part of another loose security alliance and markets a low-end firewall it could beef up to compete with Check Point's flagship Firewall-1.

HP will use a new software developers' kit for OPSEC members, which is now shipping, to link future versions of its OpenView network management console with Check Point's security management console. The linkage involves the security side of Check Point, not its new bandwidth management software, called FloodGate.

In addition to CompuServe, GTE Internetworking, the ISP unit of phone carrier GTE, and MCI's ISP unit also joined the OPSEC alliance. They all use Check Point's flagship FireWall-1 software to offer virtual private networks and security outsourcing for corporate customers.

Check Point said the new members boost its OPSEC alliance to more than 100 vendors, with other newcomers including Spyglass' Web-site blocking SurfWatch unit, CyberSafe, Livingston Enterprises, Microsystems Software, PictureTalk, and secure email vendor WorldTalk.