Cranite Provides Security for SMB

By Eric Griffith

June 23, 2003

Cranite Systems, which provides government certified security software for WLANs, is releasing a version of WirelessWall for small-to-medium businesses, both standalone and on a Linux box from partner Westcon.

Cranite Systems of San Jose, Calif., which provides government certified security software for WLANs, is releasing a version of WirelessWall for small-to-medium businesses (SMB), both standalone and on a Linux box from partner Westcon, a channel provider located in Tarryton, N.Y.

Previously the company only focused on the enterprise and government customers, including such big names as West Point Military academy, which require strong security. Earlier this year Cranite partnered with Westcon. According to Andy Maisel, executive vice president of corporate and business development at Cranite, "[Westcon] said they love our stuff, but they wanted to package something for small businesses. We worked through our architecture with them and they wanted something easier to deploy, that would use fewer boxes, and was an all around easier solution."

That easier solution is a version of WirelessWall that Westcon can sell as is or preinstalled on any Linux box. It targets businesses with less than 250 users.

WirelessWall generally comes with three pieces: the policy server, an access controller for each subnet of the network, and client software for each PC. The companies decided that most SMBs don't need the policy server on a separate box, no do they usually have multiple subnets, so Cranite combined the policy server and access controller in one.

"It's not stripped down," Maisel pointed about the combined aspects of the software. "There are new things added, in fact, that will be also in the impending enterprise release" of a new version of WirelessWall. That will include new WLAN monitoring tools, and items like an 'idle time out' to kick off inactive users, something very handy under the needs healthcare is finding under the HIPAA rules.

"It's not 'lite,' it's just tailored to the market," says Maisel.

WirelessWall carries a FIPS 140-2 rating. FIPS is short for Federal Information Processing Standards; the 140 cryptographic standard was created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The standard has four levels of security - Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and Level 4 -- that increase in quality as they go up. FIPS 140-1, the first level, only supports DES and 3DES encryption. The various levels are suitable for a wide array of areas in which cryptographic modules could be used.

Cranite's implementation of FIPS 140-2 features Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP-TTLS) for authentication and tunneling. The software provides the security in Symbol's Mobius Wireless Switching System.

The SMB version of WirelessWall is available now, with the software piece starting at around $1500 for a ten user starter pack. The license agreement covers simultaneous users instead of the entire install base of PCs. Pricing of the unit on a Linux box from Westcon was unavailable.



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