Bay Networks Inc. said it will develop an enterprise-wide set of security products for local and wide area networks, remote access, and network management.

The software, called BaySecure, will be released later this year. Bay Networks, based in Santa Clara, Calif., develops network systems for institutions such as Chase Manhattan Corp., Bank of Boston Corp., and the New York Stock Exchange and the American Stock Exchange, among others.

Network security is the "hot item of the day," said Peter Jensen, network consultant at Bank of Boston Corp. Hackers continually attempt to crack corporate firewalls for fraud, sport, or espionage. And disgruntled employees - with the proper password or access information - can wreak havoc to even the most secure network.

"We've all moved toward more open connectivity, and now we are trying to figure out how to stop that from happening," Mr. Jensen said.

Bay Networks is "making a major move on the intranetworks," Mr. Jensen said, "and I'm very happy to see they are addressing it."

Bank of Boston uses Bay Networks' hub and router switching technology. Routers are described by Bay Networks officials as "the glue" that connects "loosely managed collections" of remote local area networks, wide area networks, and outside service providers. Routers act as "the first line of defense" against outside interlopers.

Mr. Jensen said he has particular interest in software called BaySecure Lan Access, which is a component of the entire system.

"The big concern for most institutions is security," said James R. Slaby, who manage financial services industry programs at Bay.

"Financial institutions are extending their networks out beyond their headquarters, operations centers, and branch networks, and are increasingly relying on public networks like the Internet and the World Wide Web," he said.

Officials said networking software is a blossoming business line, especially considering the growing popularity of the Internet for electronic commerce usage.

Bay Networks is a darling of Wall Street - having increased annual sales in just three years from $185 million to $1.9 billion for the trailing four quarters.

The company derives about 20% of its earnings from financial services, with the rest coming from the manufacturing, health care, and telecommunications industries.

"With all the growth and demand in internetworking technology, you really have to be inept not to make lots of money in this business," Mr. Slaby said.

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