• United States
Executive Editor

NetContinuum: A start-up to watch

Apr 21, 20032 mins

These young vendors offer fresh approaches for addressing today's enterprise network challenges, from setting up secure wireless LANs to virtualizing data center resources.


Company name: Chosen to reflect support for the continuum of ‘Net-related security issues.

Origin: Founded in September 1999 by Jan Bialkowski, Peter Roman and Wing Cheung, formerly engineers at network vendors including Bay Networks, Berkeley Networks and Fore Systems.

Funding: A $26 million second round closed in April 2001, bringing total funding to $35 million.

Investors: Adams Street Ventures, Invus Group, Menlo Ventures, NIF Ventures/Daiwa Securities and Siemens Ventures.

CEO: Gene Banman, previously a Sun executive.

Product: NC-1000 Web Security Gateway.

NetContinuum wants to supply network protection and secure remote access a la traditional firewalls and VPNs, but with an exclusive focus on Web traffic.

This Santa Clara, Calif., company is shipping a network appliance that sits between firewalls and Web servers, terminating TCP sessions and blocking hacker scans, worms and application-layer attacks. When configured as such, the NC-1000 Web security gateway also can act as a remote access gateway, requiring authentication before letting remote users access restricted Web applications. Remote machines require only Secure Sockets Layer-enabled Web browsers as their remote access client.

NetContinuum is not alone among vendors approaching Web application security. Competitors include Array Networks, Sanctum and Teros, each of which approach the problem a bit differently. NetContinuum’s slant is a purpose-built processor the company says can set up 4,000 new sessions per second and support 1 million simultaneous sessions at wire speed. The goal of the Continuum Security Processor is to ensure server protection without forcing traffic slowdowns, NetContinuum says.

To enhance security, the processor uses separate chips for administrative processing so network administrators do not have access to the content of traffic flows. The NC-1000 also can export data about detected intrusions to third-party network management platforms and firewalls, but NetContinuum has yet to formalize partnerships on this front.

The NC-1000 comes in two flavors, one with dual 10/100M bit/sec Ethernet ports for $28,000, and the other with dual Gigabit Ethernet ports for $38,000. NetContinuum has a number of high-profile users among its customers, including the Navy Federal Credit Union, Ross Stores and the U.S. Department of Energy.