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Check Point vs. the world – firewall giant stays faithful to engineering roots

John E Dunn | April 25, 2016
Check Point's response has been to return to evolutionary, engineering-driven messages

The logical conclusion of Check Point's faith in engineering is that technology is the answer, not the problem. Users can be educated for sure but the saviour of organisations in the age of cybersecurity will be automated, machine-driven security underpinned by technologies that both gather intelligence, block, react, remediate.

According to Shwed, the user will always click on links and open files. This is a given. The security company's job is to react to that event. As long as security is embedded in more places than it has been in the past, the defenders have a chance.

The CEO's steadfast self-belief comes at an important moment for the company. At a conference only a few weeks ago, Shwed reportedly raised the possibility that the company might incorporate outside Israel to escape high local taxes. That wouldn't take it out of Israel, where its engineering base is still anchored but it does reinforce the belief that technology firms, even Israeli ones governed by strong tribal loyalties, cannot afford to be too sentimental if they want to stick around.

Check Point vs. the world - appliance world

At CPX, proof of Shwed and Check Point's faith arrived in the form of new appliances - lots of them. Every security firm shows these from time to time on a defined annual or bi-annual upgrade cycle but what stands out with Check Point's ambition to fill every possible niche from small to extremely large.

Appliances matter because they are the platform that generates the upgrades and partner support that give the firm's established ecosystem presence and profits. The pressure for Check Point and all its rivals is that customers now expect more and more features as standard so the opportunity to sell upgrades diminishes.

Small offices and branch offices get the 'UTM on steroids' 1400 appliances which extend the core firewalling to include IPS, VPN, application control, and a raft of filtering and anti-malware options. There is nothing new in bundling up these options for smaller networks but buyers agree now being offered security without apparent compromise. Check Point claims 1800Mbps throughput, up to 18 copper connections with 802.11ac Wi-Fi and the ability to get the box up and working using a simple wizard. Enterprises can also deploy these remotely.

For mid-sized businesses, the firm announced the 3000 and 5000 Series appliances featuring encrypted traffic inspection (now an important way for attackers to dodge detection) that not long ago would have been considered an enterprise-only requirement. Check Point even claims this is delivered without a performance hit. Together with the 15000 and 23000 Series appliances announced earlier in 2016, this means that Check Point has within a short space of time overhauled it's the core of its entire security fleet.


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