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6/12/2006
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Red Seal Gathers Up Risk Data

Less predictive in nature, the risk management box is supposed to help improve decision making when things go wrong

Risk is "in": First it was McAfee last week purchasing risk management software supplier Preventsys, and today Red Seal Systems is unveiling a new risk management appliance.

RedSeal's Security Risk Management (SRM) 3000 gives you a visual of at-risk areas of the network, with graphics that map these hot spots as well as vulnerabilities in firewall and router configurations or performance. The tool pinpoints where and when to remediate the setup of these devices, for instance, and prioritizes which require attention first and which can wait. It grabs configuration data from firewalls and routers such as Cisco's and from Check Point's SmartCenter management system.

"We analyze and show visually how traffic flows through the network... how threats might flow and where to remediate," says Johnnie Konstantas, Red Seal's senior director of marketing. The SRM 3000 doesn't send its data outbound just yet, she says, although Red Seal will soon provide APIs so it can share its output with network management systems.

But this and other risk management tools still don't address security's missing link to the business side: a way to measure return on investment (ROI). Red Seal's Konstantas says that's not the purpose of the appliance. "This isn't a big ROI story -- it's more for pragmatic deployment [of security] and ease of use" in tracking risk, she says. Still, some of the reporting features of the SRM 3000 could help the CISO: "Some reports are useful at the higher level to track macro" trends.

Jon McClelland, senior IT security analyst for Atos Euronext Market Solutions, IT provider to Euronext.liffe Stock Exchange, is gearing up to beta-test the SRM 3000. He's looking for a tool that gives a closeup look at just how his network and devices are secured and where risks lie so he can make adjustments accordingly. "Another important feature is 'what if we change the ACL [access control list] on a router or firewall rule?'" he says. "This would be very useful for change management."

It's always tough to prove why security tools are necessary and even tougher to show the ROI, McClelland says: "With a risk analysis product like SRM, we're hoping to show how it will improve our business processes and help meet our security policies."

And the reality is you can't really quantify your loss from a security breach until it actually happens, anyway. Eric Ogren, a security analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group, dismisses the term "security risk management" altogether. "You're not managing risk -- you can't quantify it," he says.

The Red Seal SRM 3000's big draw, Ogren says, is it helps you analyze where you can get the best bang for your buck in applying patches and upgrading software -- and it helps drive down operational costs. "It has the benefit of sharing intelligence of what the network looks like and gives you some metrics, which help you better secure your network and systems."

The trouble with risk management: "It doesn't predict the future so well," he says.

Red Seal's SRM 3000 starts at $50,000 and will ship on July 31.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

Companies mentioned in this article:

  • Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP)
  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)
  • The Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG)
  • McAfee Inc. (NYSE: MFE)
  • RedSeal Systems Inc.

    Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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