Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Information Security Vendor hype?

It seems we're in an entrepreneurial dilemma... especially in the information security field.

Entrepreneurs/innovators/tech sales people create, commercialize and sell new, innovative tools, but it seems we've hit a plateau where the entrepreneurs don't understand the new market. In this down-turned economy how many infosec companies have failed? How many have been bought? I'd guess far fewer acquired than failed but then again, that's always been the case. Now it seems harder. It seems entrepreneurs are stuck in two areas that they just can't seem to find their way clear of:

1. New attack methods are not caught by old security tools! No matter how many signatures you stick into an IPS, it's not going to be able to stop a C2 channel heading out your door when it's buried inside of FTP! Don't tell me about Data Loss Prevention or losing the perimeter. I've had all the sales garbage that I can stand from the likes of Vontu and Verdisys. While both good ideas, DLP is not a solution for identifying and stopping badness inside your enterprise. The solutions stop 'not so smart' people from doing stupid things but do not stop smart people from stealing information from you.

2. Entrepreneurs are so busy selling (hyping) their products, and so busy with their noses pointed squarely at their keyboard (or financials), they've lost touch with what infosec practitioners really need... and the worst part is, they're not getting it from the trade magazines either! SC Magazine has gone from a robust magazine with good information to an ad rag full of expensive ads and very little content that will give entrepreneurs information to help them focus their product lines and strategy. So here's a bit of advice folks (from a guy who gets pitched more times than most), stop pitching. Leave your marketing materials at the door. Do your homework and be ready to answer hard questions. If I visit your company, I don't want to talk to your business development people. I want the techies. I want to see the results of your product on your company network, and I want to see the demonstrated ROI realized by you. I want to talk down and dirty tech. Tell me why it works. Show me that it does. Tell me it's current limits... then, and only then, will we have more to discuss.

3. Venture capitalists continue to push offshore development because the numbers make sense. You know what though? I won't buy it if there's no way to assure the security of the product, and EAL certification isn't it. Show me something that hits a product squarely with the newest attacks and handles it well. Base certification on that. Until then, VCs, you're limiting the ability of your portfolio companies to be able to sell to government and government contractors.

There, I said it. Want to know what the market looks like? Want to know what the market is going to look like? Want to know what kinds of threats your security tools need to be able to handle? Contact me. I'll tell you.

Jeff
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