3Com Corp. is offering IT departments the capability to provide more network security for laptops and PCs with new networking hardware.
The Santa Clara, Calif., company last week unveiled the Embedded Firewall PC Card, updates of its existing Embedded Firewall Desktop and Server PCI cards, and an Embedded Firewall Policy Server to provide central management of security procedures.
The Embedded Firewall products, due this month, do software-based firewalls one better by not only securing access to desktop and laptop PCs but also providing 10/100M-bps Ethernet connectivity. They provide standard packet filtering, enforce no-sniffing and no- spoofing rules, and deny ping requests.
The cards accept requests for policy changes from only the 3Com policy server. If a device with a card in it can't locate a policy server, it defaults to the highest level of security.
Firewalls that are deployed as software only are susceptible to operating system vulnerabilities and can be disabled by end users, 3Com officials said.
The upgrades extend the firewall capabilities to end users connecting to a corporate network over a broadband virtual private network. They automatically apply the appropriate security policies to users whether they are connecting inside or outside the LAN. The desktop and server cards come with licenses pre-installed, which makes them easier to deploy, according to 3Com.
The Embedded Firewall Policy Server was upgraded to Version 1.5 so that it can automatically detect when new PCs with the firewall cards connect to the network.
The Jordan Public School District, in Sandy, Utah, uses 3Com's embedded firewall in its servers and the policy server to manage security at its more than 80 schools.
"We have a limited IT staff, [and] this really maximizes our ability to reach into a number of locations without having to physically be there," said the school district's Technical Support Specialist Max Mulliner. "The policy server makes management a piece of cake."