Oregon city tries out network security appliance

Albany, Ore., is testing the ReadyARM network security appliance from Avanton Inc. of Manhattan Beach, Calif., to detect intrusion and scan for vulnerabilities.

'We like to know how things are working,' said Allen Pilgrim, an Albany network administrator. 'Is there a link that's slower than other links?'

ReadyARM sends alerts via cell phone, e-mail or instant messaging. It also generates performance reports as pie charts or line graphs. Different colors show, for example, peer-to-peer or Web surfing traffic.

'You can tell when everybody gets on the servers in the morning,' Avanton president Richard Knapp said. 'If you have a lot of traffic in the middle of the night, something is going on.'

The city runs Microsoft Exchange 2000 with Active Directory on servers under Windows 2000 or 2003. Client PCs run Windows XP Pro.

'If a mail server goes down, I'll be notified immediately,' Pilgrim said. 'I'll be on it before we get any calls' from users.

ReadyARM shows bandwidth use down to the desktop level'for example, whether someone is listening to bandwidth-hogging Internet radio. One organization was about to upgrade its connection to T3, Knapp said, because there was so much Internet traffic. It turned out that a server virus infection had been quarantined but not deleted. The server was broadcasting torrents of data traffic.

With an IT staff of seven, 'we don't have time to chase down all these problems,' Pilgrim said. 'And money is always an issue. A huge dive in the logging industry has caused the highest unemployment rate in Oregon here.'

At less than $10,000 per box, ReadyARM fits the city's tight budget, Pilgrim said.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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