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Company: Tested Technology
Details: Pricing not yet released.
Challenge: When a network attack goes through an open firewall port, it's difficult to block the malicious IP address from gaining access. A common tool, blacklisting, is less than 60% efficient, because of its false positives, according to Mark Anderson, marketing director at Tested Technology.
Solution: Hyperblocking intrusion-prevention system (IPS) software sits in front of the firewall and gathers information about IP addresses entering through open ports. Anderson says comparing attributes of all the IP addresses flowing through the network allows the software to learn whether they are friends or foes. If the Hyperblocking IPS database determines that an IP address intends to do harm, it makes the network invisible. The offending machine thinks that the device was unplugged. Anderson says the code, which is about 300KB, is often referred to as a "precrime database" because it can determine the intent of the attacker.
Company: Shimon Systems
Details: Available via Web site and OEMs; pricing starts at $499.
Challenge: Password maintenance is a huge headache for IT. Users jam the help desk with requests for remembering or resetting passwords, which drains valuable resources. "Also, password security is rather weak - [they're] easy to break," says Baldev Krishan, president and CEO of Shimon Systems.
Solution: Bio-NetGuard is a client/server application that lets employees log on to the network with a fingerprint (shimon means fingerprint in Japanese). Fingerprint sensors attached to devices validate users and machines, and the server holds policies regarding users' access levels. Bio-NetGuard provides single sign-on to Windows as well as Web sites that require username and passwords. Krishan says the client/server combo, which also works with wireless networks, is safe, because fingerprints are not stored as whole images - only the minutiae points of the prints are recorded.
Company: iotum Corp.
Details: Scheduled to be available this quarter; hosted service to be offered by monthly subscription rateChallenge: Users are connected to e-mail, office phones, cell phones and home phones. Yet, when business contacts are trying to reach them, many of the calls end in voice mail. Users need a way to filter calls so that important contacts get through.
Solution: myiotum is a hosted service that lets users create relevance for their communications. Alec Saunders, president and CEO of iotum in Ottawa, Canada, likens it to the job a receptionist performs.
"We look at what you're doing at that time and who you're doing it with to determine if you should be disturbed," he says. For instance, if a user is in a meeting but is getting a call from someone he'll be meeting with later, then that call is forwarded through. However, a call from a relative would be sent to voice mail.
"We draw contextual information from the tools you already use, like Microsoft Outlook and AOL Instant Messenger," he says. Myiotum also handles entrance to conference calls for users. It dials into bridge numbers automatically but doesn't require the users to come online until all participants are on the call.
Gittlen is a technology editor in Northboro, Mass. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Read more about software in Network World's Software section.