Tech Industry

Security firms add consulting

Check Point is one of several companies focusing on security consulting, either by expanding or by adding a new unit.

Security vendor Check Point will unveil next week a new security consulting arm and announce new versions of its flagship FireWall-1 software and remote access software.

Another security firm, Secure Computing, said today that it has divided its network security consulting force into four specialty practices to identify risks, create enterprise security systems, provide technical support, and train customers and install software.

The emphasis on security consulting comes as prices for firewall software erode. However, it also reflects both the complexity of enterprise security issues and the new revenue that consulting offers. In addition, consultants often recommend products, serving as a potential distribution channel.

Professional security services have been a focus for other firms in the sector too. When Network Associates acquired firewall firm Trusted Information Systems earlier this year, Network Associates said the TIS consulting arm would reinforce its service offerings.

Likewise WheelGroup, an intrusion detection software firm purchased by Cisco Systems, had a strong consulting practice. Axent Technologies also has a sizable security consulting practice in addition to multiple software offerings.

Secure Computing's network assessment service includes penetration testing to identify vulnerabilities. The security architecture practice will work on virtual private networks (VPNs) and make recommendations about public-key infrastructure (PKI) issues for handling digital certificates.

Check Point's professional service unit, based in Dallas, will offer technical support and training services for the company's security, bandwidth management, and network infrastructure software as well as for integrating partners' software. The division also includes the Check Point Emergency Response Force (CERT) and, through other firms, arranges outsourced security services.

For the first time, Check Point also is offering customer support directly to end users. Support had previously been handled exclusively by its resellers.

The unit, with 25 employees today, is projected to reach 80 specialists by year's end. Former Network Associates executives Tony Reed and John Patrick are running the operation.

Check Point's new security software, FireWall-1 version 4.0 and SecuRemote 4.0, together can be used to set up VPNs. The products will be available in the third quarter, with FireWall-1 version 4.0 priced at $2,995 for under 25 nodes and at $18,990 for unlimited nodes.