Blue Coat Partners to Plug Leaks

Vendors combine technologies to help create 'leak prevention' solution

Blue Coat Systems and PortAuthority today announced that their appliances can now work together to secure email, HTTP, FTP, and instant messaging traffic.

Blue Coat SG catches malware and spyware, while PortAuthority's appliance monitors and enforces security policies for these types of traffic, the companies say.

"This is just another sign that leak prevention is getting some traction in the industry," says Richard Stiennon, IT-Harvest. "Blue Coat is one of the largest proxy appliance vendors. PortAuthority has made an important partnership with an established vendor."

Getting a handle on what's going out of the network can be tricky: An employee using Web mail could unknowingly reveal information about an upcoming financial report with a casual comment in a personal message to someone outside the organization, for instance, or IT may not be able to decrypt an outgoing HTTP-S message that's sent outside the corporate messaging system. Leaks can be accidental or malicious, but either way, they can prove deadly to a corporation.

"The organization doesn't own traffic between an internal user and the external application, and it doesn't have access to it," says Shelendra Sharma, product marketing manager for Blue Coat. "In the past, that would be a blind spot for IT."

Blue Coat last month struck a similar integration arrangement with Vontu, PortAuthority's main competitor in the outbound monitoring space. Why the two deals? "Our idea was to allow the customer the most flexibility in choosing their products," Sharma says.

"Leak prevention" is a hot topic in compliance circles these days, but it was the risk of personal data loss that drove NIH Credit Union to recently add Blue Coat's SG appliance to its network, integrating it with its existing PortAuthority's Information Leak Prevention appliance.

"It was more because of the increase in identity theft cases and our desire to protect our members' information any way possible," says Kirk Drake, vice president of IT for NIH Credit Union.

Drake says, ideally he'd rather have the features rolled into one box instead of two. But the reality is that security tools have emerged piecemeal. "Eventually, we will consolidate many of [our] security products to ease the management overhead."

Blue Coat is catching up to some rival vendors that already have some of the same secure content management features. Secure Computing's WebWasher Secure Content Management suite, for example, already does most of what the Blue Coat/PortAuthority combination will do, officials say. WebWasher also intercepts incoming SSL traffic as well as Skype, another gaping hole in today's corporate networks.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

Companies mentioned in this article:

  • Blue Coat Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BCSI)
  • PortAuthority Technologies Inc.
  • Secure Computing Corp. (Nasdaq: SCUR)