Silicon-Level Technology Promises Cheaper, Cooler Security Devices - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Hardware & Infrastructure

Silicon-Level Technology Promises Cheaper, Cooler Security Devices

"Security system-on-chip" technology gives a network appliance the information it needs at the silicon layer to identify and block suspicious packets. Such chips may eventually replace security appliances altogether.

Call it microsecurity. A silicon-level approach to security technology design is promising to end the need for the software and integrated circuits that boost the cost of security appliances and make them put out waves of heat in data centers.

Mistletoe Technologies, secure processorSecurity system-on-chip technology gives a network appliance the information it needs at the silicon layer to identify and block suspicious packets. Only a handful of companies make the chips, but they say the cheaper, cooler network devices may replace security appliances altogether, allowing makers of PCs, servers, printers, and other network end points to embed security within their products.

Chipmaker Mistletoe Technologies is partnering with network appliance makers that will embed its VPN and firewall RDX chips into their devices. Network security firm BroadWeb plans to integrate Mistletoe chips in its Zone Defender appliance, which debuts in September. BroadWeb sells its own security system-on-chip technology to makers of intrusion prevention, antivirus, universal threat management, and security content management appliances. But it was faster for the company to license Mistletoe's VPN-firewall chip than to develop its own.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory deployed two Mistletoe-based VPN-firewall appliances made by Viking Interworks to secure part of its network. The chip-based security technology overcomes cost limita-tions that have restricted the lab's deployment of gigabit-per-second network security appliances. "With firewalls, it's like buying a car," says Mike Bennett, senior network engineer at Berkeley Lab's LBLnet, which provides LAN services to the lab. "If you spend only a little money, you're going to get a low level of performance." Not a good situation, given that the future of network security will depend on organizations using appliances that provide deeper inspection of network traffic while still moving that traffic at gigabit-per-second speeds.

A firewall that relies on software to perform its security functions and is powered by an Intel chip that sends through traffic at gigabit-per-second speeds can cost about $20,000, but Mistletoe's simplified design can deliver comparable capabilities for about $1,000, Gartner VP John Pescatore says. "Mistletoe has come out with a firewall chip, essentially," he adds, "with the idea of allowing networking companies to sell firewalls at an inexpensive price."

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
COVID-19: Using Data to Map Infections, Hospital Beds, and More
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  3/25/2020
Enterprise Guide to Robotic Process Automation
Cathleen Gagne, Managing Editor, InformationWeek,  3/23/2020
How Startup Innovation Can Help Enterprises Face COVID-19
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  3/24/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
IT Careers: Tech Drives Constant Change
Advances in information technology and management concepts mean that IT professionals must update their skill sets, even their career goals on an almost yearly basis. In this IT Trend Report, experts share advice on how IT pros can keep up with this every-changing job market. Read it today!
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll