Computer Associates has unveiled eTrust Vulnerability Manager r8, a rack-mountable security management server appliance designed to identify and prioritise software patch installation.
The appliance is designed to reduce the labour-intensive nature of managing patch installation, allow pre-testing of fixes and provide documentation to help meet regulatory compliance issues.
It also features automatic configuration and integrates with CA's Unicenter operations management software and other eTrust security management software technologies.
"Patch management has become a big issue for any organisation that is serious about IT security," said Andy Kellet, analyst at the Butler Group.
As well as the appliance, CA also launched a subscription-based service based on the technology, which the company sells direct.
Customers receive a feed from CA's security centres detailing those vulnerabilities that are relevant to the company's IT assets and require patches to be implemented. Others, estimated at up to 90 per cent of those issued, can be safely ignored.
"Asset management is not new but it is new to security," Ron Moritz, chief security officer at CA, told vnunet.com. "We're providing a level of sanity to security vulnerability management."
CA executive vice president Russell Artzt told delegates in his CA World security keynote that intelligence must be integrated into security software to allow firms to prioritise remedial action.
"If a worm attacks two systems, do we know which one is more important to our business? To be able to secure business processes, security needs to be integrated and knowledge embedded," he said.
"This embedded knowledge provides the intelligence to say what patches are needed, where they are needed, and in real time."
Mark Nicolett, analyst at Gartner, said in a statement: "A successful vulnerability management programme should include security configuration and administration policies, in combination with processes and technologies, to discover [and correct] vulnerabilities.
"Gartner predicts that enterprises that implement [such software] will experience 90 per cent fewer successful attacks."
The Open University is one user of eTrust Vulnerability Manager. Jamie Slee, technical analyst at The Open University, said in a statement: "Patch updates and new vulnerability advisories used to require enormous research and management efforts.
"eTrust Vulnerability Manager helped us effectively manage these complex threats, realise substantial operational efficiencies and reduce costs."
Sold both direct and indirect, the appliance costs from $9,500, and is available in Unix, Linux and Windows versions.
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