Today, Check Point Software Technologies, one of the old guard in the world of information security, announced they are purchasing Nokia’s security appliance business. This is welcome, if late, news to Check Point’s customers who use Nokia hardware. For many years, Nokia was the de facto hardware platform for deploying Check Point firewall software. Check Point/Nokia shops have been struggling for months to decide how to respond to Nokia’s announcement that they would rid themselves of this troublesome (think non cell phone) business. For customers with sometimes hundreds of Nokia appliances, the fear of potentially unsupported hardware, or of a big firewall replacement project, were equally disturbing.
This new agreement spawns a couple of interesting questions:
What will happen to the appliances that Check Point is now shipping? With the purchase of a hardware company, Check Point may want to change their outsourcing relationships with existing hardware manufacturers. Customers who recently purchased Check Point branded hardware appliances may want some type of formal clarification regarding the future of their chosen platform.
How will this affect Check Point’s own operating system, SecurePlatform? The Nokia OS, IPSO, has always been a bit of a bear to use, in my opinion. It is based on a BSD-type OS but is not ubiquitous enough to have the elegance of other members of its family. SecurePlatform, however, is a Linux-derivative and is very Linux friendly. Will Check Point merge some of the best features of IPSO, such as its routing capability, into a more robust SecurePlatform or will SecurePlaform go away and be replaced by the next generation of IPSO?
This is clearly a good move from the Check Point customer perspective. It would seem to signal continued Nokia support and better upgrade options for long-term Check Point customers. Check Point always used to point out that "Software" was in their name and they would never become a hardware company. Perhaps a name change is also in their future?