Just when I thought that I had spoken with just about every security company, I am introduced to a new one. In this case, Steve Friedburg, an old friend, called me to introduce me to a new client, NSFOCUS. The company, he informed me, was founded in 2000 and has made great strides in creating a family of network security appliances. After going back and forth a number of times, a time for my conversation with the NSFOCUS team was finally selected. After reading through their presentation materials and thinking about what they had to say, I've come to the conclusion that they are offering good technology, but face the challenge of being recognized on the world stage.
BackgroundIn the past, many security challenges were presented by disgruntled employees or students having a great deal of knowledge and out for a bit of sport. Now, it appears, that many of the most serious securty challenges are coming from well funded IT experts that are out to steal corporate data, steal government data or bring down target systems for political purposes.
Furthermore, the targets have changes from the target's websites to the infrastructure servers that support the target's network. Now routers, switches, hubs and various appliance servers offering support functions have become the target. If they can be compromised, the rest of the victim's network is open for attack.
The attacks have gotten much more sophisticated as well. In past, attackers were able to gain entry into a target environment as simply as making a single machine spoof an IP address. Now millions of compromised PCs are being used to gang up on a target. Quite a number of different systems and protocols are used in today's attack as well.
What does NSFOCUS do?NSFOCUS has a team of experts that focus on security challenges of organizations in the financial, telecom, manufacturing and government markets. They scan many network sources to find new breaches, new vulnerabilities and new types of threats. These NSFOCUS staff members then work to develop technology to stop these security problems.
NSFOCUS' security appliances are designed to use a number of proprietary algorithms to detect the attacks and and then block malicious traffic without stopping real transactions. The company claims that its system architecture allows continued operation even in the most extreme circumstances.
Snapshot AnalysisAt first glance, the messages NSFOCUS offers appear similar to those offered by other security companies. The technology appears promising and the company's reference customers are impressive. The company's biggest challenge lies in getting attention. NSFOCUS is a newcomer to the North American and European markets and a number of their biggest clients are in China.
While I was with Open-Xchange (OX), I faced a similar challenge. OX had a number of big European clients, but IT executives in North America seemed uninterested because they were new to the local market. NSFOCUS faces the same challenge.
Unasked for shoot-from-the-hip adviceNSFOCUS, it appears that you have a number of really interesting and useful products. You need to really focus on developing new reference accounts in North America. You already have an impressive list, but the list needs to be broadened to include more well-known names.
You also need to help the market better understand why your technology is better than what is being offered by companies such as BMC, CA, HP, IBM and other key suppliers. This could be accomplished by the use of short, really interesting papers; funny and interesting short videos and even offering eBooks that present your case in a clear fashion.