Schlumberger Upgrades Network Port Security - InformationWeek

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Schlumberger Upgrades Network Port Security

Schlumberger Oilfield Services deploys a security appliance from Lockdown Networks to prevent unauthorized access to its network and to ensure that those that do connect have updated security software installed.

Mario Chiock, the senior IT security adviser at Schlumberger Oilfield Services, wanted to enhance the security systems to prevent unauthorized access to the company's network. He looked at offerings from some of the largest technology vendors, but their products weren't what he was looking for.

He called the technology from networking company Cisco Systems a "marketing scheme that would take a lot of money to install," while the Microsoft approach offered promise for Windows-only IT shops. Schlumberger Oil runs Windows, Linux, Sun Solaris, and more operating systems.

So he began testing a product called Lockdown Enforcer from Lockdown Networks Inc., which will be formally unveiled today. The technology is working so effectively, Chiock says, that he intends to begin deploying the security appliance in other cities, including the company's biggest offices in Houston and Paris, France. "Then somebody could plug their machine onto the Web over our network," says Chiock, "but they'll get no connection without a password, Radius network authentication, or Active Directory LDAP," or lightweight directory-access protocol.

The Enforcer audits devices seeking access to the network for vulnerabilities and then enforces customer-chosen access-compliance standards at the network switch level. But the appliance itself sits outside the direct line of traffic, using out-of-band monitoring to watch connections, so it doesn't drag down network performance. The appliance works without installing a monitoring agent on computers or other devices, which Chiock says also will help with network performance.

An Enforcer appliance costs about $19,995, depending on network configurations and size. It works with most network switches, including those from Alcatel, Cisco, and Nortel. When users attempt to connect to the network without the proper security software and updates installed, they're quarantined by the Enforcer and required to upgrade before they can connect. The Enforcer works for wireless, Windows, or Web-based access.

Most businesses should consider technology like the Lockdown approach to audit network devices and enforce security compliance at the PC or notebook level, says Peter Lindstrom, founder of research and analyst firm Spire Security. "Networks are very much public and most security administrators have no concern when there's a 30% difference day-to-day in the number of IP addresses logging on," he says. "Folks need to get a handle on what's connected to the network and whether they're clean."

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