Akonix Systems, Inc., the premier provider of instant messaging (IM) security solutions, today announced the launch of its A-Series IM security appliances for enterprise and small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The new appliances are powered by AkOS(tm), a hardened operating system (OS) custom developed by Akonix for real-time messaging environments. The company also released version 5.1 of its Akonix L7 Enterprise(tm) IM management gateway, and Akonix L7 Enforcer(tm), a perimeter security solution that detects and blocks the unauthorized use of IM and peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P) applications.
The Akonix A6000(tm) IM security appliance is an all-in-one enterprise-class solution optimized for instant messaging security and management for up to tens of thousands of users. Designed to protect corporate networks from viruses, worms and other malicious IM threats, the appliance controls access and enforces policies for public and enterprise IM clients, and ensures regulatory compliance by logging and archiving all IM communications. The new A1000(tm) IM security appliance offers the same functionality as the A6000, but is optimized to meet the needs of organizations with 25 to 1,000 users, at the lowest total cost of ownership. Both appliances run on AkOS with the latest versions of Akonix L7 Enterprise v5.1 and Akonix L7 Enforcer v5.1.
AkOS is the first OS developed specifically to power IM security appliances with the highest levels of reliability, performance and security. Available only on the A-Series of Akonix appliances, AkOS is a custom developed, purpose-specific operating system with extraneous services disabled and access only to a secure shell. As a result, the A1000 and A6000 appliances have significantly improved security and performance over other IM security products.
Major enhancements in v5.1 of the Akonix L7 Enterprise suite include a Web-based user interface, which reduces the end user´s administrative burden to install, patch and update client software for interacting with the application. The latest version includes support for the use of international, non-American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) character sets to be monitored, logged and reported. Additional support for Jabber´s Enterprise Instant Messaging (EIM) is also now integrated in the software.
New, patent-pending security features supporting Akonix´s 360-Degree Security for Real-Time Communications(tm) include a unique challenge-response system for ensuring that ´poisoned Web addresses´ cannot be sent through instant messenger systems. Additional enhancements include customizable message rate throttling that provides containment for rapidly propagating IM worms, and new, built-in allow/disallow lists for allowing safe Web address URLs to be sent while automatically blocking known malicious URLs.
“We value our partnership with Akonix and recognize its technological innovation in the IM security space,” Brian Curry, vice president, Premium and Subscription Services, AOL LLC. “With the introduction of its new appliance family and enhanced software, Akonix continues to help protect enterprises from potential risks associated with unmanaged IM use, enabling businesses to experience the benefits of real-time communications.”
“Appliances that secure networks against IM attacks are attractive to IT organizations due to their ease of deployment and maintenance,” said Maurene Caplan Grey, founder, principal analyst of Grey Consulting. “The operational efficiency of a security appliance is particularly critical due to the uptake of IM-focused malicious code.”
The A-Series IM security appliances and AkOS operating system minimize total cost of ownership by introducing improved administration and management tools. Installation is performed through a command line interface, followed by wizard-like series of options for configuring and setting policy. The appliances are managed through the Akonix Appliance Manager, which allows administrators to review system logins, available patches and packages, download packages, review and audit previously downloaded packages, and manage their trace files. Also included in the administrative console is the Akonix Activity Monitor, a dashboard to monitor IM activity and usage statistics; and Report Manager, to create, run and manage reports.
“With the introduction of our new appliances, custom-developed OS and enhanced versions of L7 Enterprise and L7 Enforcer, we are giving companies of all sizes the opportunity to protect their networks from the dangers of unmanaged IM use,” said Don Montgomery, vice president of marketing at Akonix Systems, Inc. “Building on our market leadership in the IM security space, Akonix now has the most comprehensive and thorough approach to providing multi-tiered security and compliance for use of public and private IM networks in all types of organizations.”
Akonix´s A-Series family of appliances is available immediately. The company offers 30-day evaluations of the appliances free of charge to qualified IT security professionals. Installing an A-Series appliance and monitoring network traffic for just one week is recommended as an excellent means of detecting and reporting on rogue traffic and employee use of unsanctioned IM and P2P. People interested in free evaluation units are directed to contact their Akonix representative, Certified Akonix Partner or visit www.akonix.com/eval.