Wednesday, July 19, 2006

What's the difference between Airtight/Defense/Magnet/Chemistry?

I've had yet another invitation, to yet another briefing, on yet another WLAN security product.

The invitation goes like this: "X Announces Four-Tiered Network Architecture to Secure, Manage Wireless Networks with Millions of Devices"

Risking a brain hernia, I read on: "X is the only vendor to have a four-tiered architecture and a Managed Network Console capability to be able to manage geographically disperse network segments as an integrated whole – and scale to manage millions of devices. X's architecture is comprised of four tiers: the wireless devices or clients, wireless sensors which see and protect the clients, the server(s) which manages the sensors, and a Management Console which provides visibility, intrusion prevention, and management capabilities across multiple servers and millions of wireless devices."

Apart from that fact that this is godawful writing what's unique here? What is company X promising here, that hasn't been promised over and over by companies X, Y and Z?

I sent back an email that went, in part:

Thanks for the press releases and invitiation to take a briefing on X's latest products. I'm interested, but I am having trouble seeing any difference between announcements from wireless security vendors these days. Doesn't everyone have a "four-tier" architecture including client, sensor, console and server?

I'm even having trouble distinguishing between each vendor's sequential announcements. Didn't you always have a four-tier architecture?

Even for someone as optimistic as myself, there's only a limited number of times I can reiterate and publish a story beginning "AirNetworkMagnetTightChemistryDefense has promised the first
console-managed scalable sensor-based real-time remediating IPS/IDS wireless security and performance management system."

I know there's a real market out there, and Techworld has run positive product reviews of most of the major vendors in this space at one point or another. But I'm really unsure how to handle wireless security announcements like this in any way that's helpful to my readers. I find myself quietly hoping that analysts' predictions will be borne out, Wi-Fi security vendors will all be shaken out and subsumed into wireless network products, and we can move on.

The response? Silence.


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