The hosted application security service MyCIO.com has begun offering its first PC-based firewall that can be downloaded directly from the MyCIO.com Web site.
The service, called PC Firewall AsaP, offers systems administrators an alternative to shipping software CDs out to employees in remote offices for installation. The administrator e-mails the MyCIO.com URL to each end user, who then clicks on it to start the download process to his PC. The cost for the firewall is $24.95 per user.
"The PC firewall essentially renders the machine invisible to the outside world," says Mark McArdle, vice president of Internet security development at MyCIO.com. The desktop firewall -- based on the Signal 9 desktop firewall acquired by Network Associates last year -- can be configured in three settings: high, medium and low.
The high configuration blocks inbound traffic to the desktop machine, while medium lets Internet Control Message Protocol-based traffic through and low allows file-sharing, McArdle says.
"Desktop firewalls are particularly important in small offices or in home offices connected through cable or DSL, which are always on," he says.
MyCIO.com has long provided antivirus software called VirusScan at its Web site. Now the company has come up with what it hopes is a faster distribution method for getting antivirus software upgrades to desktops.
Using a technology it dubs "Rumor," MyCIO.com has added a software agent to its VirusScan software that lets each desktop share the upgrades it gets with other PCs across a LAN.
"Rumor technology is peer-to-peer distribution on a LAN," McArdle says.
DPR Construction, a firm in Redwood City, Calif., with several offices around the country, is using the Rumor technology to distribute VirusScan software.
"As it is, we have six people receive the VirusScan updates on their PCs, and their PCs will look for a neighbor based on an IP broadcast," says DPR Construction network manager Lee Rocklage. Antivirus software constantly needs to be updated, and the Rumor distribution method is faster than having users go on the Internet to MyCIO.com for the updates, Rocklage says.
Securant tightens user access
Meanwhile, Securant, which markets the ClearTrust SecureControl server software for restricting user access to Web servers, is expanding into guarding access to e-commerce application servers, too.
Next month, Securant will include a set of software plug-ins with the ClearTrust 4.5 access control server so it will guard access to the BEA WebLogic e-commerce application server. The ClearTrust would then be able to perform user authentication, transaction monitoring and authorization and audit of the e-commerce transactions, says Securant Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Eric Olden.
"We're also working on a similar set of plug-ins for IBM's WebSphere, and we have plans to build the APIs for e-commerce application servers from Art Technology Group, Allaire and iPlanet," Olden says. The cost for Securant's Cleartrust SecureControl server software is $20 per user.
The next version of Cleartrust will be able to tie into Microsoft's Active Directory to take advantage of the Windows 2000 user registry to apply authorization and access control for Web servers. SecureControl 4.5 also has a new template-driven interface that will let it be "buried" into aa Web portal to unobtrusively handle user authentication and access, Olden says.