Red Hat, Symantec to offer bundled secure server applications

Red Hat teamed up with security vendor Symantec to offer a bundle that couples Red Hat Enterprise Linux with an intrusion protection service, Symantec Critical System Protection.

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Commercial Linux distributor Red Hat Inc. and security vendor Symantec Inc. announced this week the pending availability of two secure server bundles that certify either Red Hat Enterprise Linux or the Red Hat Application Stack with the Symantec Critical System Protection.

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The first bundle, called Secure Server Host, melds Symantec's behavior-based, host-based intrusion protection system (HIPS) and detection technologies with RHEL for enterprise computing on servers with up to two processor sockets.

The second bundle, Secure Server Host for Applications, adds the Red Hat Application Stack, an open source suite that runs standard Web and enterprise applications based on Java, LAMP or Linux on servers with up to two processor sockets.

According to the Symantec Web site, Critical System Protection 5.1.2 protects against zero-day attacks, hardens systems and helps maintain compliance by enforcing behavior-based security policies on clients and servers via a central management console. From the console, systems administrators can configure, deploy and maintain security policies. Plus, they can manage users and roles, view alerts and run reports across Microsoft Windows, Sun Solaris and Linux. A software license costs approximately $500.

Nick Selby, senior analyst and director of enterprise security in the Boston offices of The 451 Group, said there is a growing value for IT managers in packaging an OS like RHEL – or a RHEL-based applications stack – with a security offering like Secure Server Host. "These bundles can be very valuable to businesses that don't have in-house experts to configure and get running security programs like host-based intrusion detection," he said.

Because the security features are pre-installed, businesses will begin to try and then deploy the relatively untested HIPS technology, Selby said.

"The trend here is to make security less 'something you have to do' and more 'something that just is.'" Selby said. "We are getting to the point where HIPS has matured and many vendors are beginning to offer [HIPS], so the idea of a bundle is a natural progression.

"These bundles are freeing up the IT manager to implement some fairly sensible stuff. The important thing is to get people to try it; to see that HIPS is working and does not hobble your data center," he said.

One similar offering is a pre-configured Snort network intrusion detection tool from Post Falls, Idaho-based TriGeo Network Security Inc. Executives from that company claim that 90% of their customers using TriGeo's pre-configured Snort network intrusion detection feature had never before used an intrusion detection system of any kind.

A statement from Red Hat and Symantec said the bundles will be available and priced later this month. The distribution for these bundled solutions will include existing Red Hat and Symantec channel partners, which may not be part of the Red Hat-on-Intel channel. Red Hat and Symantec will independently offer associated updates, support and services.

Last month, Red Hat made a similar announcement when it revealed that Dublin, Calif.-based Sybase Inc. and Red Hat would release a database bundle. At the recent Red Hat Summit, executives said plans were in place to create even more pre-packaged appliances, but no specifics have been disclosed yet.

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