About three weeks from now, Matrix NetSystems and a still unnamed partner will launch a global Internet "early warning system" aimed at alerting customers to cyberattacks in plenty of time to fend off damage. Meanwhile, the new Internet management service provider has just inked a deal with netVmg, developer of a solution for routing traffic across ISP links according to specified enterprise policies.

"Big companies have abandoned solutions like leased lines in favor of the Internet, which is ubiquitous and far less expensive. The Internet does a good job of connecting people, for the most part," acknowledges Tom Ohlsson, Matrix's VP of business development and marketing.

Unlike previous transport mechanisms like frame relay and ATM, though, the Internet lacks user-definable surveillance thresholds, notes Ohlsson. Matrix's emerging Internet-based management infrastructure also assists with worm invasions, equipment failures outside the firewall, and other issues that crop up when organizations treat the Internet as their enterprise network.

So far, industry analysts generally like what they see at Matrix. "Matrix has an expertise in Internet security that goes back about 12 years," maintains Frank Barbetta, an analyst at Probe Research. Originally known as MIDS, Matrix began as a consulting firm, only branching into services over the past year. With its new service offerings, however, Matrix is aiming big; target customers include the Fortune 50, federal government agencies, global ISPs, and "top five" systems integrators.

"Enterprises and ISPs do need better information about the Internet," affirms Barbetta. "The Internet is a random entity, but people are trying to rely on it for business applications. The Internet has some characteristics that are 'normal' for a network, and others that are unique unto itself. It's very prone to malicious code, for example."

Matrix will pinpoint the partner for its new "early warning system" in conjunction with a third-round funding announcement later this month. Ohlsson likes to compare the new notification system to the "DEW Line," a radar system set up by the US government during the Cold War to alert the nation to impending nuclear attacks.

Page 2: Matrix's Warning System Inspired by GEWIS