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McAfee launches IPS for 10g networks, but is IT ready?

McAfee unveiled a new IPS offering for 10-gigabit Ethernet networks and announced the upgrade and integration of several other products. One analyst offers a mixed assessment.

McAfee Inc. is using the Interop show in Las Vegas to launch a new intrusion prevention system (IPS) for 10-gigabit Ethernet networks and the integration of several other products.

McAfee IntruShield 10 Gigabit Ethernet platform will be available later this year. The new IPS supports IPV 6 (Internet Protocol Version 6).

"Many enterprise data centers are moving toward 10g Ethernet networks but there hasn't really been an IPS out there that's 10g-compatible," said John Vecchi, McAfee's director of product marketing for network security solutions.

One analyst said the technology won't necessarily be the best fit for everyone.

Eric Maiwald, senior analyst at Midvale, Utah-based Burton Group, said IT professionals have to take a careful study of their own environments to determine if this product is truly viable for them. Every IT outfit is configured differently, and while one might be a perfect match for the latest IntruShield, another may be configured in a way where the product wouldn't work as well, Maiwald said.

"The raw number is only one part of the equation," he said. "How was the throughput measured? What configuration was used during the test?"

Maiwald added that he hasn't seen as much evidence that IT shops are clamoring for a 10g IPS to better protect the core.

"A faster device certainly enhances your options in terms of where you can put the thing, but it remains to be seen if this truly takes the use of IPS to the next level."

Despite his reservations on the IPS front, Maiwald said he sees promise in McAfee's integration efforts. McAfee also unveiled IntruShield 4.1, which it said offers enhanced integration with other products in its security risk management portfolio, including Foundstone, Network Access Control (NAC) and ePolicy Orchestrator.

"Foundstone can pass information to IntruShield so that alerts can be better prioritized," he said. "IntruShield can also pass attack information back to Foundstone so Foundstone can then conduct a scan to see if the target was vulnerable to the attack. That information is quite useful and this will probably help reduce false positives and such."

Santa Clara, Calif.-based McAfee has worked hard to improve its standing in the market following an internal scandal that forced the retirement of CEO George Samenuk, who was replaced by Dave DeWalt in March. A special committee of McAfee's board of directors investigated certain stock options granted in the last 10 years and ultimately found that McAfee needed to restate some of its historical financial results.

Despite such setbacks, security experts have lauded McAfee's recent product moves as a model for other security vendors to follow as they fight to stay relevant in an increasingly saturated market.

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