Array Networks is introducing security hardware and software that could make it possible for businesses to reduce the number of devices they use to protect their networks from Internet-borne threats.CAMPBELL, CALIF. -\u00a0Array Networks\u00a0is introducing security hardware and software that could make it possible for businesses to reduce the number of devices they use to protect their networks from Internet-borne threats.Array SP 6.0 can inspect and filter HTTP traffic as well as decrypt and filter Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) traffic that typically is allowed to pass freely through firewalls. It also will load-balance among the Web servers it protects, cache frequently accessed sites and compress traffic.The latest version of Array's security platform expands the role of the device, which sits on the LAN side of corporate firewalls, where it inspects Web traffic. Formerly, the device acted as a proxy between remote users and Web servers in corporate networks. Remote users create SSL links with the Array box, and it acts as a go-between with Web servers on the LAN.Array is among a group of vendors, including Fortinet, NetContinuum, TippingPoint Technologies, Blue Coat Systems and F5 Networks, trying to offer security and traffic management in one device, says Richard Steinnon, research director for network security at Gartner. The key problem that needs addressing is that Internet traffic and attachments that come into Web and mail servers can carry viruses and worms. "Gartner sees the need for application-layer defenses in front of those servers," he says.Such application-layer firewalls sit in the same spot on the network where load balancers and SSL accelerators are located, so it makes sense for them to include those functions, Steinnon says."This reduces network complexity dramatically," says Chris Maune, director of business development and product marketing at Sun, which is looking at the Array gear for possible partnerships.The primary value of the Array SP device is that it can secure and simplify access to Web servers, says Andy Sutton, manager of network services for Texas Health Resources, a hospital system in Arlington, Texas. It secures access by creating SSL remote access links over the Internet from Web browsers. Software does not need to be installed on the remote machines, Sutton says.Also, by proxying to Web servers, Array SPs eliminate the need to physically move the servers into a secure network segment separate from the rest of the LAN, saving a large investment in time and effort, he says.The heart of Array's technology is the ability to decrypt and dissect packets once and then share the information with multiple applications, reducing delay and processing power required to perform multiple functions. "They tear down packets and pass them through a series of filters for virus signatures, protocol anomalies and key words," Steinnon says.Array SP 6.0 is based on new hardware that boosts its encryption speed by 30% and increases the number of simultaneous Web sessions it supports from 600 to 32,000. It will be available next month for $50,000. A smaller version, Array SP-C, costs $15,000.