Blue Coat takes hybrid approach to security

Blue Coat takes hybrid approach to security

Appliance vendor, following trend, looks to combat threats from BYOD, cloud

Security and optimisation vendor Blue Coat in late March rolled out a solution combining its appliance and cloud services in a single interface.

The vendor says that its unified web security solution is driven by BYOD, social networking, and malware network trends facing enterprise customers, in addition to the continuing virtualsiation of IT.

“What this is about is IT regaining control of the enterprise,” says Jonathan Andresen, Blue Coat’s director of product marketing in APAC. “Until recently that has been fairly straightforward. Now it’s about BYOD, but it’s also about other trends coming into play. Attacks are moving to the web layer as opposed to network attacks, which are still happening but a lot of the costs and data loss are at the web layer. Another thing is that people want more mobility.”

Blue Coat isn’t alone in this thinking. Vendors across several sectors have been scrambling to broaden the scope of their products to meet the demands of hybrid cloud infrastructures and BYOD, for everything from user authentication to disaster recovery.

To cite two examples, Kroll Ontrack (see page TK in this issue) is looking at how helping partners tackle the rise of data recovery requests in virtualised environments, and the impact of BYOD on backups, while Cisco is training engineers in ID authentication and authorisation for users regardless of which of their various devices they employ to access the network.

The message Blue Coat brought to New Zealand, which Andresen visited to introduce its new solution to partners, is the vendor’s move to a single pane for setting security policy for users across devices, locations and other parameters.

“A lot of our customers in New Zealand don’t have huge IT departments but they do have many users to manage, and they don’t want to do it with multiple interfaces to look at,” says Andresen.

Andresen says a selling point for reseller partners is its WebPulse system, which he says analyses a billion URLs a day to uncover suspicious threats at their source before they propagate. Blue Coat foresees malware attacks increasingly coming from what it calls malware networks that camouflage themselves with subnets and multiple IP addresses.

“We tell our partners, they’ve been selling web security for a while, they can sell UTMs, they can sell next-gen firewalls. These products may have a lower price, but they trade off functions,” says Andresen.

The Blue Coat solution proxies data before it reaches end users, while providing “granular” control of policy management, saying when and where users can access data, regardless of the device they use. This includes various levels of control over Facebook, which Blue Coat sees as a major avenue for new kinds of malware attacks.

While Blue Coat deals largely with enterprise customers through Tier 1 resellers, Andresen says its cloud services are gaining traction among SMBs.

The company plans to announce in May a partnership with a reseller that will co-brand Blue Coat solutions as a managed service. This may be used as a model for other resellers that already have experience in managed services and cloud services, and are willing to go through a training process.

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