* The Northern Indigenous Community Satellite Network (NICSN) gives 30 remote Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec communities access to a wide range of health, education and other government services.

NICSN, a partnership between Telesat and Industry Canada, is the first inter-provincial community-owned

and operated broadband satellite network in Canada.

Telesat has provided two C-band satellite channels for the federal government to use to provide video, audio and data services to such communities, a contribution the firm estimates is worth $20 million. Industry Canada has kicked in about $12 million.

Dan Pellerin, network manager of K-Net Services, which provides computer services to Keewaytinook Okimakanak in Northern Ontario, said the satellite network will be used to provide a variety of services, including radiology and mental health consultations via videoconferencing, sentencing hearings for citizens in the justice system, economic development, governance and tele-education.

With the additional satellite capacity, K-Net will now be able to connect more communities more quickly and roll out those e-government services, he said, adding NISCN will be able to set up several sites at the same time.

“”As more and more needs and more applications are requested we’ll have the capacity on the ground to accommodate them. It will simply be a matter of making an application for additional bandwidth,”” Pellerin said.

Paul Bush, vice-president of broadcasting and corporate development at Telesat, said the contribution of space will be on the Anik F2 satellite, launched last July.

“”Five or six years ago they were saying, ‘OK, now we’ve got basic phone and TV service, but what we need now in terms of basic service is access to health care and educational services that are equivalent to what they have in other areas of the country,'”” he said.

—Kathleen Sibley

* Bell Canada has created a new company from which to manage all of its enterprise security offerings and will establish a centre of operations in Ottawa.

Bell Canada Security Solutions Inc. (BSSI) will spearhead Bell’s plan to corner the Canadian market on enterprise security management.

“”We plan to be the largest security organization in Canada,”” said Isabelle Courville, president of Bell Canada Enterprise Group, during a press conference last month.

BSSI will be led by Charles Salameh, formerly Bell’s vice-president of enterprise solutions. The company will offer a wide range of security solutions from managed VPNs to spam and virus protection to identity management services, said Salameh. Bell has provided many of these services for several years and has offered forms of enterprise security since 1995, but this is the first time they will be grouped under one roof.

Because Bell manages a large percentage of the nation’s communications infrastructure, enterprise users may be willing to consider the company as their main security provider as well, said Mary Kirwan, principle of Headfry Inc., a Toronto-based security consultancy.

“”They have a big installed base and customers will probably be happy to buy it all under one roof if they can do it in a way that makes sense for the right price,”” she said.

Iain Grant, managing director of the SeaBoard Group in Montreal, agrees.

“”I think enterprises are looking for somebody to tie it all together,”” he said.

There are other companies that will provide the types of services that Bell is offering, Grant said, but few can provide such a range. Telus can compete on some levels but its influence is limited geographically to the West. Rogers plans to provide voice-over IP telephone service, but has limited experience with enterprise customers, said Grant.

Bell plans an aggressive campaign to promote its security practice, Salameh said. Some of Bell’s existing facilities in Ottawa are being remodeled to accommodate the new company as well as a customer solutions centre.

—Neil Sutton

* Cisco Systems Inc. has unveiled 10 products that are aimed at creating a network that can monitor, identify, re-route and isolate network security problems.

Announced at last month’s RSA Security Conference in San Francisco, Cisco says these products, which comprise the company’s “”self-defending network”” strategy, are designed to help network managers automatically identify and protect against malicious IP traffic. For application security, the Cisco PIX Security Appliance 7.0 is a firewall that provides a deep content inspection engine. Guard XT 5650 and Anomaly Detector XT 5600 are new Catalyst modules that help prevent distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

Some of the new products are the result of Cisco’s acquisitions of the last few years. For example, the MARS monitoring and reporting tool is based on technology developed by Protego Networks, recently acquired by Cisco.

“”If there is an attack and you need to take action, Protego gives you enough information to make a reliable decision because it knows your network,”” said Bob Gleichauf, chief technology officer of Cisco’s Security Technology Group.

Another security trend is to allow security on the network for multiple traffic types. Running voice over the corporate network doesn’t necessarily create security problems, but it does create a different set of issues that relate to securing packets.

Identity theft will still be a problem, as will session eavesdropping and voice-mail bombing. Cisco’s self-defending network strategy aims to combat existing threats and deal with future ones, such as VoIP spam.

Companies that see the need for a multi-vendor network still have the choice to integrate third-party products to respond to specific problems, such as VoIP spam. Mississauga-based BorderWare Technologies Inc. has introduced an enterprise version of SIPassure, a firewall aimed at protecting corporate VoIP networks from malicious attacks. SIPassure looks at models of VoIP data and compares it with well know SMTP spam high-traffic patterns.

“”If you notice an unusually high number of inbound calls, you can create a number of SIP spam policies,”” BorderWare’s senior product manager David Berg said during an interview at the conference. “”Having this intelligence helps to automatically create policies to streamline the operation of your network.””

—Rock Jethwa

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