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April 6, 2005

Centennial launches policy enforcement on unauthorized device access

Centennial Software, a UK developer of IT asset discovery technology, is expanding into the security market, launching a tool for blocking unauthorized devices such as USB keys or PDAs from being used on corporate networks.

By CBR Staff Writer

The Swindon-based ISV has been a one-product company since 2000, when it launched its Discovery product to work with asset management suites, having started life in 1997 applying its discovery technology to the Y2K remediation market. Now, said vice president Matt Fisher, it is diversifying into security policy enforcement with the launch of its new package, DeviceWall.

This product enables corporations to keep unauthorized devices from connecting to PCs on their networks, the classes of device being PDAs, smart phones, HDD, optical storage devices, USB and FireWire drives and iPods, said Fisher. Exclusion is policy-based by the individual user’s profile, such that two corporate users logging on from the same PC would have different entitlements.

It achieves this by deploying a central policy server called Control Center and sending client agents out to the individual machines on the network, be they desk- or laptops. Once a user has logged on, the agent checks for policy updates from Control Center, as well as checking back at regular intervals as determined by the network administrator. If an update is required, a small XML file is sent over.

Fisher said the competition for DeviceWall comes from products such as SmartLine (from the eponymous company) that offer complete PC lockdown, rather than the dynamic, policy-based blocking of classes of devices that the Centennial package enables. As for pricing, Centennial charges by seat, with a typical 1,000-user contract costing around $30 per seat.

Discovery competes with asset discovery products from the likes of Tally Systems and Monactive, and next month will undergo a refresh with new security features. It is OEMed by various larger entities, including one of the market leaders in security software. Fisher said talks are underway with these and other potential OEM partners for DeviceWall.

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