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Senior Editor

Network Associates targets SMBs with security software

Aug 26, 20032 mins
Network Management SoftwareSecurityUnified Communications

Network Associates Monday announced network and security management software aimed at small and midsize users that tops out in price at about half of what the company’s enterprise-class products cost.

The Netasyst Network Analyzer software is intended for management of 10/100 Ethernet installations and 802.11 wireless networks at companies with up to 500 end users, said Chris Thompson, vice president of product marketing at Network Associates.

The product can help users automate network and application problem resolution, and it will also provide IT managers with packet-level data about network performance and the functioning of firewalls, intrusion-detection and -protection systems and other security technologies, Thompson said.

Austin Bank began testing Netasyst early this month on a network that supports operations at 19 branch offices, said Jeff Sowell, a network engineer at the Jacksonville, Texas-based bank. The bank has already used the tool to monitor slow response times on a Microsoft SQL Server database application and to track an apparent network intruder, which turned out to be a telephone technician who was using the network for maintenance purposes without first notifying anybody at the bank.

Sowell looked at several network management products but liked the idea of using a tool from a well-known vendor. In addition, Netasyst turned out to be easy to use. “The expert network analysis is handy for somebody like me that doesn’t do this everyday,” Sowell said. “It makes any idiot pretty good at analyzing traffic.”

Although Sowell is urging his managers to buy the software, that has not yet happened.

Network Associates is primarily known as a vendor of security software for large companies, said Stephen Elliot, an analyst at IDC. But the network management market for smaller businesses is fragmented and not well served by management tools vendors such as IBM’s Tivoli Software unit, Computer Associates and HP, Elliot said.

The closest competitors to Netasyst will be products from Ipswitch, WildPackets, and Network Instruments, he added.

Netasyst relies on underlying technology that’s used in Network Associates’ enterprise-class Sniffer product line, Thompson said. But the new offering will be sold as software, whereas most of the Sniffer products are appliances that include both software and dedicated hardware.

Another distinction between the two product lines is that Netasyst won’t work on Gigabit Ethernet networks or over WANs, Thompson said.

Pricing for the Netasyst software ranges from $1,395 to $6,590, compared with a $12,000 price tag for the company’s entry-level Sniffer Portable device.