F5 and Webroot partner for security in the network

F5 and Webroot bring together products from their portfolios to offer a single solution for application security

F5 and Webroot have announced a partnership to tie-up their networking and security offerings to protect enterprise applications from external threats.

The deal will see F5 incorporate Webroot's IP Reputation Services into its Traffic Management Operating System (TMOS), which runs on the company’s BIG-IP network appliance. The result will be an extra tool to protect corporate networks without having to buy an extra piece of hardware or software.

Webroot’s IP Reputation Services work by identifying the risk involved in connecting to an IP address or website and use a traffic light system to warn of the dangers to the network. This allows for an educated decision as to whether to allow devices on the corporate network to connect to external sources and provides real-time assessments of the risks involved from individual sites.

It also enables IT to see any infected devices trying to connect into the network and again allows them to stop the infection spreading inwards.

The first element of TMOS to get the booster will be the Application Security Manager (ASM), which runs as part of F5’s own security and datacentre firewall solutions. The tool will also be opened up to F5’s developer community to enable them to leverage the solution where they think it’s applicable.

F5 and Webroot said that by joining forces they can offer, not just better security, but better network performance, as any malicious content which may slow down the network is blocked.

The firms also said the integration makes both deployment and management simpler by having all the tools needed in one location.

"Applications running across networks encounter a wide range of security challenges," said Mark Vondemkamp, senior director of product management at F5. "IT managers don't want the complexity of managing different single-purpose appliances.”

“By integrating the industry's most comprehensive IP Reputation intelligence into our product platform, our customers can take advantage of added protection against malicious sites without any extra management burden."

Roy Illsley, principal analyst at Ovum, agreed the partnership “made sense” in a market increasingly looking for simplicity, but he warned it could be risky for an enterprise to put all of its eggs in one basket.

“My concern is that this could be a way to lock customers in,” he told Computer Weekly. “It is a two-edged sword as it makes sense to combine these but could make change more difficult.”

“As the network is slowly moving to a software defined network where the capabilities are split 50:50 between the network (distributed) and the control plane (centralised), movements such as this will have to be thought through in terms of what goes where for what reason.”

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