WorldCom globalises firewall service

Multinational enterprises using WorldCom's data network services now can get a firewall service at locations all over the world,...

Multinational enterprises using WorldCom's data network services now can get a firewall service at locations all over the world, with central management and quick local maintenance.

World Com is globalising its existing Managed Firewall Service, which has been offered and run only by WorldCom's US operations, to make it easier for multinationals to secure all their offices worldwide.

The carrier is also updating the service with a new version of Check Point Software Technologies's firewall software, according to Bob Blakley, WorldCom senior manager for security services.

WorldCom declared bankruptcy last month but is still operating. The firewall offering is part of WorldCom's set of global data services, which include Internet Protocol virtual private network (IP VPN), other Internet access services and collocation, said Jon Zymaris, director of product strategy and development.

Industry analysts believe it is unlikely that WorldCom's corporate data services will be sold off in a re-organisation.

The Managed Firewall Service includes hardware, software and management by WorldCom, all for a monthly fee per box. Previously it was managed solely by the company's security operations centre in the US.

Customers with operations in the US could have WorldCom set up firewalls there for deployment in other countries, but supporting those devices was more complicated and time-consuming from the US than from the local region, Blakley said.

With the new service, enterprises that need firewall support can call on the same contact they use for all network-related issues, he added. In addition, companies located entirely outside the US now can buy the firewall service.

"Historically, we have supported international customers outside the US, but it's been deployed out of the US and supported out of the US. What we're doing now is globalising it. It's about the customer having a consistent experience around the world," Blakley said.

Enterprise IT managers can have WorldCom configure firewalls in all corporate offices based on a single set of security policies, and then request modifications through a Web browser. They also can monitor the progress of those requests and of WorldCom's progress in troubleshooting when a problem is detected, Blakley said.

An annual review of the service's security by a third party, which will work directly with the customer, is included in the price of the service, he added.

Check Point's updated software offers many advantages over the earlier offering, most importantly faster performance, tools for easier management and greater scalability, Blakley said. The service now includes personal firewall software designed to prevent unauthorised users from entering a company's VPN through a remote user's portable computer.

Customers can order the service now. Support in local languages, will be set up in Canada, Latin America, the Asia-Pacific region and Europe, Middle East and Africa throughout the remainder of this year.

Customers can choose among three firewall hardware platforms: the Nokia IP120, IP330 and IP530, all running the Check Point software. WorldCom is considering other platforms to meet customer needs, Blakley said.

The service is priced per site, starting at $1,400 (£918) per month, which includes an IP120 and a licence covering 250 IP addresses served behind the firewall. The price ranges up to $3,000 (£1,964) per month for an IP530 and an unlimited licence.

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