They'll always be with us in the wooly corners of the Web: attackers bent on breaking your network system, stealing your data, pilfering funds, or letting their fingers do the walking through your e-mail and IM threads.

Research firm IDC, in its security trends forecast for 2006, said chief security officers, as well as other executives whose job it is to evaluate risk, must account for the broadening scope of emerging threats. At the same time, it warned that many organizations are simply unprepared to handle such multi-layered threats, even if they are aware that the sophistication of attacks is increasing.

IDC's numbers show that some of the major security challenges to manage are: wireless devices used in enterprise network configuration management; senior executives that don't make security policy a priority; a patchwork approach to security policy; an always-on environment with an increasing volume and complexity of network traffic, followed by the one nobody wants to talk about: budgets too small to meet enterprise security needs.

Small wonder that companies are looking for the equivalent of a Moss-Covered Three-Handled Family Credenza to help fix the mess.

That might help explain why Unified Threat Management appliances, or UTMs, are still a big trend this year, after breaking out in 2005. At the same time, all the major security vendors (hardware and software -- Symantec, Cisco, Microsoft, Checkpoint and Juniper, to name a few), are gearing up with similar forms of UTMs in the form of Network Access Control systems.

iPolicy Network's products may help explain why UTMs are hitting a sweet spot with customers. They combine firewall, intrusion prevention and URL filtering functionality all within a single appliance.

This helps system administrators enforce security policies for over 500 intrusion prevention firewall appliances across an enterprise network. For multi-national customers, this is a huge challenge.

iPolicy's differentiator - or secret sauce you might say, is a technique it calls Single Pass Architecture, which examines packets up and down the stack -- from layer one through layer seven (define), but only once. In this way, it's not slowing down the network while in search of dodgy packets.

When an organization needs to enforce a crazy-quilt of real-time security processes and keep the apps performing with blazing speed, speed matters.

How fast a sniff? iPolicy claims that network security managers can maintain the performance of their high speed networks from 100 megabits to 4 gigabits per second, while mitigating DoS/DDoS (define) attacks, blocking worms and Trojans, stopping blended threats and preventing undesirable content from entering the network, attacks that readily penetrate conventional firewalls.

The product lines are geared for all sizes too: carriers, network wholesalers, enterprises as well as small to medium-sized businesses.

Arun Chandra, president and CEO of iPolicy, said the scalability of the offering is what many customers find critical.

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