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Lucent gets into security business

The company extends its network consulting to security, targeting large corporations, phone companies, and ISPs.

Lucent Technologies is extending its network consulting practice to security, targeting large corporations, phone companies, and Internet service providers.

Security consulting will be part of the network equipment firm's professional services arm, NetCare. Its consultants will identify weaknesses in online security policies and review intrusion-detection capabilities.

Security consulting has mushroomed in the last year as new entrants have scrapped for talent and customers. Network Associates, Check Point Software, and Cisco Systems have gotten into the security business, joining firms like Axent and Secure Computing.

Large corporations such as IBM, GTE Internetworking, Perot Systems, and Big Five consulting and accounting firms also have consulting practices.

"A whole raft of security product companies out there are trying to get into this arena, but you don't see many doing multivendor support," said Gary McKee, new business development director with Lucent NetCare Security Services. Lucent's service, for example, will support firewalls from Check Point and Axent, as well as the Lucent Managed Firewall software.

McKee identifies IBM and GTE, which includes security consultants acquired with BBN Planet, as Lucent's chief competitors in this full-service market. Security consultants typically sort through a bewildering array of products and weave them into a corporate system, complete with policies on network access.

Many Internet security companies started as consulting operations, often for the U.S. military or intelligence agencies, then branched out into software. Consultants at Cisco and Network Associates, for example, largely came from their acquisitions of smaller network security operations.