HP Releases Automated Security Product for NT Web Servers

On January 17 at the RSA 2000 Security Conference, Hewlett-Packard released Praesidium WebEnforcer for Windows NT, a new product for securing NT-based Web servers. HP claims that WebEnforcer fixes all known security holes in NT and actively monitors and enforces security issues. Perhaps most interesting, WebEnforcer works with the HP SecurityUpdate service. HP performs continual security analysis on NT and related products and send fixes to your copy of WebEnforcer in a lights-out arrangement (where systems are monitored remotely after everyone has left the building). WebEnforcer provides automated continuous security fixes to NT Web server environments. HP claims that WebEnforcer increases security and reduces the amount of time that IT staff must spend on security issues. According to HP, this product not only monitors and alarms, but also "resets configuration settings if they have been changed (either maliciously or by installing other software)." WebEnforcer works with NT Server 4.0, Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS), Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS), Index Server, and other Web server components. Based on a review of the product literature, HP appears to be targeting WebEnforcer toward e-business. More and more frequently, businesses that rush to have a Web presence lack the technical know-how to maintain a secure Web server. WebEnforcer might be part of the trend toward automating the management of fairly complex technologies as those technologies filter down to nontechnically oriented companies. Gary Sevounts, HP senior product line manager, disagrees, claiming that HP is aiming WebEnforcer at all levels of security needs. He said that HP is targeting banks as potential customers. WebEnforcer is essentially the NT version of HP's Virtual Vault for UNIX. Sevounts said that 70 percent of worldwide financial transactions use Virtual Vault, demonstrating HP's strength in the financial transaction processing arena. Sevounts also told me that WebEnforcer's automated security and updated options make it a unique product; he claimed that it has no competitors. WebEnforcer is available for $2995 per server, with SecurityUpdate subscriptions costing $695 a year. For more information, see the WebEnforcer Web page.

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