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Security

Industrial security guard gets backup

Verano joined by security specialist Betrusted to push software for industries like utilities, transportation.

Control system provider Verano is joining forces with security specialist Betrusted to sell software and services designed to protect key industries such as utilities and transportation.

Under the partnership, which is expected to be announced on Monday, Verano's Industrial Defender will be jointly marketed by the companies. Betrusted will offer management and monitoring of the Industrial Defender system--a package of services, software and appliances based on security-enhanced Linux--as part of its lineup of cybersecurity services.

"When the East Coast blackout hit in 2003, that's when it really hit us: We needed to find some partner to provide a complementary managed-services business that would provide a tightly preintegrated solution," Verano Chief Executive Brian Ahern said Friday.

Verano, based in Mansfield, Mass., provides products to bridge the gap between old legacy systems and new security-related technology at power plants, waterworks and similar large operations. The potential vulnerability of networks at such parts of the critical U.S. infrastructure came under scrutiny after the Sept. 11 attacks and was further underlined by a recent East Coast blackout, Ahern said.

Betrusted, whose customers include corporations and government agencies, said the alliance allows it to expand further into key sectors. Previously, the only "mission-critical" industry the security provider served was telecommunications.

"Security has gone from a 'point' solution to (one) where customers are looking at it as a holistic approach," said Kerry Bailey, chief executive of Betrusted's Americas operations.

Control systems such as Verano's Industrial Defender that monitor and maintain factories, energy plants and other industrial sites are often overlooked when security needs for corporate networks are evaluated. Two common corporate networks in use include the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) network, and the Distributed Control Systems (DCS) network.

The increasing volume of virus attacks and related damage has also driven control room operators to seek help in protecting networks.

"Over the past year, with the blackouts and worms like Blaster (aka MSBlast), there is a recognition that these systems that were previously proprietary and dedicated to a specific task are now connected to other networks over the Internet," said Pete Lindstrom, research director at Spire Security.