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Simplifying SCM with Appliances

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Companies can purchase Secure Content Management (SCM) software, but arapidly growing alternative is to install an SCM appliance instead.

''Appliances are hot in companies of all sizes, but the small-to-mediumbusiness market and the remote office or branch office marketenvironments are the sweet spot,'' says IDC analyst Brian E. Burke.''These environments often look for 'staff-easy' solutions that requireminimal human intervention and relatively little training to manage.''

Burke notes that larger enterprises which want to configure andcustomize settings for different work groups and business units would beless likely to adopt the appliance approach.

Executives looking for a little less granular control and a lot moreease-of-use would turn to appliances.

According to IDC, the SCM appliance market hit $131 million in 2003.While this is a fraction of the $3.4 billion spent on SCM software thatyear, the appliance market is growing faster than the software marketand actually is expected to surpass $1 billion by 2008.

Maurice Smith, network security manager for the U.S. Department ofDefense's Forensic Toxicology Drug Testing Laboratory at Fort Meade,Maryland., uses Symantec Corp.'s 5420 Gateway Security appliance toprovide spam filtering, antivirus and intrusion detection. The labprocesses specimens from 800,000 soldiers, looking for any evidence thatthey're using illegal substances.

''If a soldier gets a positive result on a test, that is the end of hiscareer,'' says Smith. ''We don't want anybody to be able to enter oursystem and alter any results to give someone a false positive ornegative.''

Smith installed the Symantec box and configured it to his specificationsin two days. He then reduced the amount of spam they receive by blockingthe few domains where most of it originated. In addition, he has beenable to use features in the appliance to enforce user data accesspolicies, something that was simply a trust issue previously.

For this kind of installation, Smith says it makes sense to purchase anappliance rather than software.

''It saves money in the long run to have one box that can do it all forus,'' he says.

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