A Conversation with Todd Lattanzi

AdTran recently made its move into the Unified Threat Management (UTM) market with the introduction of several UTM appliances. We sat down with Todd Lattanzi, the company’s senior product manager, to ask him about AdTran’s new direction.

Why is AdTran entering the UTM appliance market?

In some of the vertical markets we’re in, there are increasing requirements for purpose-built security appliances to, for example, enable a retailer to become compliant with the credit card regulations.

The other driver is the need for application visibility in cloud computing. There are more applications pushed from off the client’s premises. Small and medium-sized enterprises have a limited IT staff, and we believe there’s a great opportunity in the cloud world for service providers and others to manage applications for customers. There’s also a tremendous desire to see what those applications are and be able to identify/control that information.

Ultimately, we’ll be able to provide a solution that’s not just this one product line but a series of products that will be able to integrate with a lot of our unified communication solutions or some of our switching infrastructure. We’ll form a single vendor that’s able to supply an entire network to an SME customer.

How are cloud computing and increasing business compliance requirements altering the network security landscape?

The biggest change is application-level visibility. There are so many different applications that flow over your browser, there’s no way to see what those things actually are. So one of the things in the cloud model that needs support – from a security standpoint – is making sure that a connection is secure and that IT personnel know what applications are running while not having to be concerned about what port the information is running over.
Being able to identify, classify and ultimately being able to control applications is the largest issue from a cloud computing standpoint.

In terms of compliance issues, PCI requirements change pretty frequently, so businesses need a solution that can change based on those demands. We believe the architecture we have will adapt easily to changing security requirements.

What does the NetVanta 2000 Series UTM appliance provide a business looking for increased network security?

One of the key things is being able to have the rich application visibility – that is, being able to look at which applications are running. Users can understand what the behavior of these applications looks like, and not only identify them, but also understand if there is some type of threat.

Another positive is being able to do all this in real time. A lot of solutions have a limit on how much you can scan in terms of large files. With NetVanta, we’re agnostic to the file size. Regardless of the file size, NetVanta scans it in real time without having to buffer up the entire file. We look at that in real time to understand the behavior of a file without having to look for particular threat signatures.

Why did AdTran partner with SonicWall to develop the appliance?

When AdTran started looking at how we wanted to enter the market – which is pretty crowded – we concluded that, to be successful, we needed a technology partnership with an established leader in the space. We understood what technology was available in the space, and ultimately decided that SonicWall had the best technology.

Does AdTran plan to continue developing solutions for the UTM market?

We recently introduced four appliances. The technology, and management systems that go with the appliances, are really just the start for us. We have other announcements to make soon and there are certainly more things we want to be able to do from an integration standpoint.

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