Cisco Launches High-End Security Appliance

Cisco today announced a multi-function security appliance that combines a firewall with VPN support, plus an intrusion-prevention system (IPS), to reach speeds up to 20 Gbps with 10,000 VPN connections and 350,000 connections per second.Apple posts Cisco's iPhone AnyConnect iPhone SSLVPN client to the App Store

The Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance 5585-X, intended for use in data centers run by large enterprises or service providers, has a two-slot chassis with a separate slot intended for the IPS blade. The multi-function firewall/VPN appliance is available now, though the IPS blade for it is not expected to ship until the end of the year.

"We know IPS can take a lot of power so the upper card is dedicated for you to do IPS," says Shalabh Mohan, director of product management at Cisco's security technology business unit. The ASA 5585-X is available in four models that range from 2 Gbps to 20 Gbps and are priced from $29,000 to $300,000.

There are no current plans to end-of-life the Cisco ASA 5580 firewall/VPN models, which max out at 10 Gbps, Mohan says. "We're not in a hurry."

Cisco also announced a new version of its AnyConnect security client, which provides IPSec VPN support in addition to SSL, 802.1x, and added 802.1AE MACSec support.

The added MACSec support provides endpoint-to-access layer encryption to an access-layer switch, according to Cisco. The latest AnyConnect client, designed to provide "always-on" support, also works with Cisco's ScanSafe service to enforce Web security policies.

AnyConnect 3.0 is available now for devices that include Windows Mobile devices and the Apple iPhone; additional support for iPad is expected in the near future. Cisco is also looking at supporting Android. More than one-third of Cisco's traditional VPN client user base, which numbers about 150 million, have made the switch over to AnyConnect, according to the company.

Cisco's new mantra is "borderless networks," which describes an architecture evolving to accommodate access and security for a mobile workforce using a variety of handheld devices in their daily lives.

The current trend "is to move to an 'any device' model," says Tom Gillis, vice president and general manager of Cisco's security technology business unit. At Cisco, users bring in their variety of mobile devices and Cisco aims to support them, he adds.

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