Advanced firewalls will lay ground for new generation

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Network visibility

SEATTLE'S PLAN TO ADD advanced firewall protection goes beyond security and bandwidth concerns. The visibility provided by the firewalls is needed to create and enforce policies that will keep the city competitive in the job market, said Mike Hamilton, Seattle's chief information security officer.

'About 40 percent of our city employees will be eligible to retire in a few years,' Hamilton said. 'We're hurting.' He has to compete with employers such as Amazon.com and Starbucks for young, tech-savvy workers, and 'we have to compete with potholes for funding.'

To attract the employees Seattle needs, he will have to provide acceptable-use policies that not only protect the security of the network but also enable new workers to use emerging technologies on the job that they already are using at home. This technology could help identify these needs and integrate authorized services into the network with the proper controls and archiving.

'We can't have instant messaging going on willy-nilly,' no matter how useful it is, Hamilton said.

The firewall's creators are under no illusions that this new approach will replace traditional firewall technology anytime soon.

'It is a complete firewall platform,' Stevens said. 'But the reality of the situation is, the firewall is the core piece of security infrastructure in enterprise networks today' and will not be easily replaced. 'For some period of time, we will be deployed alongside existing firewalls.'

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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