3Com Corp. launched a program Wednesday to provide education and training for resellers of the firm’s recently-released embedded firewall product.

The 3Com Security Preferred partner program will involve one of two levels of training,

according to James Teel, senior director, security solutions business management for 3Com’s Business Connectivity Company in West Valley City, Utah.

The first level is a two-hour introductory course. Teel said the goal is to introduce resellers to its products and provide a basic understanding of them. For VARs wanting more comprehensive training, a two-day course is available. After passing an exam, the partner will be certified as a 3Com security reseller.

“”That entitles them to more benefits like greater discounts, dedicated sales support, lead generation (and) access to leads,”” Teel said, adding that this type of training is for “”a reseller that may in fact see this as a greater opportunity to make a larger or key contribution to their business.””

The company will also require resellers in the in-depth training sessions to sign up for specific revenue targets, “”which means that they have to allocate sales and technical resources to really drive this into the market place,”” he said.

The security training revolves around 3Com’s Embedded Firewall and 100 Secure Fibre-FX network interface card (NIC) family, released last month.

The Embedded Firewall runs on the company’s 10/100 secure NICs, helping protect the perimeter of the firewall and secure desktops and servers – which, according to the company, are the most likely entry points for potential attackers.

Traditional security solutions are typically implemented through a perimeter firewall, which “”protects the inside organization from the bad guys on the outside,”” said Teel. What they’re not good for, however, is enabling enterprises to enforce or control security policies for users within the perimeter or the building, he added. “”Nor do they address the scenario of mobile users leaving the perimeter firewall and going outside and requiring connectivity back in the network through whatever means.””

Teel cited a recent survey conducted by the FBI’s Computer Intrusion Squad and the Computer Security Institute, both based in San Francisco, in which 50 per cent of those surveyed claimed they had encountered internal security breaches within the last year.

“”If you qualify the impact in terms of dollars lost or revenue impact, the biggest piece of that is coming from the inside,”” said Teel. “”Typically the inside attacker knows where the data resides. They know what they’re going after and they know how to get to it.””

Most firewall solutions also rely on the host operating system – usually Windows -– to operate, said Teel, but OSs can have vulnerabilities which hackers can easily use to take over a system without the user even knowing it.

“”In that particular scenario the end user is left feeling quite secure. Their icon is still up on the screen saying ‘You’re protected,’ when in fact, you’re not.””

3Com’s Embedded Firewall, however, is built into the hardware, meaning it’s independent of the OS. “”We’re not relying upon the operating system for the integrity of the system. A hacker can’t get to it. The only point of control into this network is through the central policy server that an IT administrator would manage the system from,”” he said.

“”We’ve essentially blended the advantages of a perimeter-based hardware, tamper-resistant solution with all the flexibility of a software-based solution into our offering . . . Our approach there is that we’re providing another layer of security, another checkpoint . . . within the whole security architecture.””

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