HotBrick debuts security tools

FRAMINGHAM (10/15/2003) - HotBrick Security Solutions — a Miami, Florida hardware start-up and managed firewall provider — Wednesday plans to debut a pair of dual-WAN security appliances for small offices.

The HotBrick Firewall VPN 600/2 and 1200/2 each include a stateful packet inspection firewall, virtual private network (VPN) server, uniform resource locator (URL) blocking and intrusion detection and prevention. The dual-wide area network (WAN) ports let small businesses set up two broadband connections to ensure business continuity for critical applications such e-mail and credit card processing. The devices support cable, Digital Subscriber Line, T-1 and wireless Ethernet WAN interfaces.

"The dual-WAN ports may seem like a little much for a SOHO (small office or home office environment and business culture) device, but more and more, we're seeing higher-end features being pushed down into lower-end devices with no real impact to cost. We anticipate that other security appliance vendors will be adding those same capabilities in forthcoming products," says Aaron Vance, an analyst with Synergy Research Group Inc.

The devices are rack mountable and include a built-in power supply. The HotBrick Firewall VPN 600/2 includes a Layer-3 switch, 6 LAN ports, 88M bit/sec firewall, and a VPN server that supports 20 tunnels. The 1200/2 appliance provides 12 LAN ports.

"In order to perform high-end firewall and IDS functions the device needs to have traffic awareness and intelligence — that's where Layer-3 switching functions come into play," Vance says.

Managed firewall service, which is offered directly from HotBrick or through its provider partners, costs US$39.95 per month. The service handles rules and policy updates, software and firmware updates, and provides daily reports on attempted intrusion, remote and internal user access reports, user activity reports and URL blocking.

HotBrick president Maurice Lopes says what sets his company apart from competitors SonicWall and NetScreen is its channel partnerships.

"Both have $500 boxes, but their channels aren't pushing them because there's not a lot of money in it," he says. "If our dealers set up a customer with a $499 box and two years of managed service, he makes $250 on service and 35 percent on $499 — the same if he were selling a $2,000 NetScreen box. That gives him a reason to push," Lopes says.

"Outsourced security services are gaining momentum in the small office market due to its lack of technology know-how and resources. What's unclear is whether HotBrick's model of being the direct managed service provider will be successful against competitive offerings from an ISP (Internet Service Provider)," Aaron says.

The HotBrick Firewall VPN 600/2 costs $499; the 1200/2 costs $899. Both are available now. Lopes says HotBrick plans to release in December a four-port wireless security router for the SOHO that's ICSA certified.