The company that more or less invented intrusion prevention systems (IPS), TippingPoint, has formally announced its overhauled security platform, boosting its underlying horsepower, the ‘threat engine' at its core, and offering more management flexibility.

The new ‘N-Platform', as it's called, has actually been with some customers for up to a year, and was also implied by the announcement in September of the Secure Network Fabric by parent company, 3Com, which incorporates the same security technology.

According to the company, the headline advances are that the new platform can be configured as multiple virtual appliances, abandoning the single-appliance per box architecture of old, and the re-written threat suppression engine can now multiple security modules, or filters, without performance hindrance.

Filters include the company's own Reputation Digital Vaccine (DV) service, a Web Application DV service, and a data leakage filter. The underlying hardware also features ‘massively parallel' processing to boost throughput.

"The evolution of the data centre is driving demand for uncompromised security and organisations are working to reduce IT administrative costs wherever possible," said TippingPoint's president, Alan Kessler.

Countering the argument that infrastructure investment is likely to remain low in a recession, even in many data centres, the company said it was targeting two sectors that had remained relatively immune to cuts, the public sector and the mobile industry.

The official release put out by the company left some architectural questions unanswered - how the virtual appliance system operates for instance - perhaps for reasons of commercial sensitivity.

The security architecture of the current platform has had its critics, with a low-end version, the TippingPoint 10 getting short shrift in the summer from testing outfit, NSS Labs, which slammed its ability to block real-world threats. Going further back, the company's Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) - which does feed into the new N-Platform's threat database - also got a rough ride from critics unhappy with the idea of paying researchers to sell vulnerability data to a single company.