As I've mentioned before, I believe that security software for virtualized environments is going to be an increasingly contested market. At this point, a very few entries have been launched. Catbird's V-agent (see this post) was one of the first. Well, the folks at Catbird have come up with yet another way to deploy this software, Catbird Pocket V-agent.
Here's how the company would describe this product:
Pocket V-Agent combines Catbird’s unique security-as-a-service architecture with VMware’s Pocket ACE® virtual machine player. The Pocket ACE technology automatically detects the OS platform and launches the Catbird V-Agent without any need for human intervention.
Pocket V-Agent offers valuable, unique features to IT security professionals on many levels. For the novice or non-security business professional, it allows for extremely easy deployment, requiring only the insertion of a USB memory stick. For auditors, instant data on the security posture of a network or data center is as portable and as accessible as a USB stick in a pocket. For security and IT administrators, Pocket V-Agent reduces the cost of periodic or continuous network protection, as any existing hardware can be immediately converted into a sophisticated security appliance which traditionally would cost tens of thousands of dollars. Pocket V-Agent provides real-time data on vulnerabilities; IPS/IDS; policy compliance and unauthorized user monitoring, saving customers from the financial, reputational, data and productivity losses resulting from security breaches. Pocket V-Agent can monitor both physical and virtual networks.
The Pocket V-Agent is free and licensed with Catbird’s monthly Security As A Service, available from any authorized Catbird partner.
Although most security software suppliers would point out that their technology would offer protection of software inside of a virtual machine as well as the software running on a physical machine, this protection may or may not be able to deal with the complex interactions between virtual resources, physical resources, network resources and storage resources. Since most organizations of any size have a hybrid environment containing many different types of resources in their datacenters, security has to be thought of in broad terms not just in terms of what's happening to a single resource.
Catbird has launched an interesting idea (free agent that communicates with a remote service), has packaged it creatively and offers it at an attractive price. Their technology could be of great help in a virtualized environment because agents could be created for nearly every type of resource in the datacenter. Information concerning security attacks could be integrated, analyzed and then better strategies to fend off the attacks could be deployed.
The company, however, faces a rather difficult challenge. They are relatively unknown and are facing challenges from Symantec, IBM's Tivoli, CA, BMC and other companies offering management and security software. They must continue to be highly creative to even be able to get in front of IT decision makers. If they apply the same creativity to marketing and sales as they have with technology and packaging, they're likely to succeed over time.
What's your view of this approach to securing virtual and physical resources?