Sourcefire has announced the launch of version 4.9 of the 3D system to include improved network visibility, dashboard customisation options and a policy layering capability.

It claimed that the policy layering capability enables organisations with multiple detection policies to construct them in ‘building blocks', making it easy to create and modify policies by geography, site, department or even by user. Application detection capabilities have been enhanced with new detectors for Oracle, Firefox, Gnutella and Timbuktu.

The announcement also comes alongside the release of the first VMware-based virtual appliances to extend IPS protection to virtualised systems and remote office locations. This includes the Sourcefire Virtual Defense Center and Sourcefire Virtual 3D Sensor that offers IPS protection from five to 500Mbps, and can be monitored and managed by physical or virtual Defense Center management consoles.

Graham Welch, managing director EMEA, said: “This has two main elements in the area of securing virtual environments and providing virtual security, and we are doing it because the challenge is firstly where are all these units and are they forgotten devices which are potentially secure or potentially posing a threat to your network? So how do we detect those and detect threats from those?

“Secondly there is a need from some organisations to use virtual sensors. We can help and allow our customers to build sensors on low cost VMware hardware and use those sensors to sense the physical network.

“The other area is that these sensors have the capability to see within inside a virtual machine and can detect the traffic that passing is between virtual instances, which you simply cannot do with a physical sensor. Customers were telling us that they were concerned about the security of their virtual infrastructure.”

The Virtual 3D Sensor and Virtual Defense Center system was introduced earlier this year, with technical director Dominic Storey explaining that the three D's stand for ‘discover, defend and determine'.

Tom McDonough, president and COO at Sourcefire, said: “The initial response to the Sourcefire 3D System 4.9 has been very positive, with nearly five times as many users beta testing 3D System 4.9 as previous releases. With Sourcefire's new virtual security solutions, organisations can secure their VMware infrastructure and better leverage their VMware investment.”