Thursday, February 20, 2014

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Endpoint Protection Platforms- 2013

 Gartner  has  released  their 2013 Magic Quadrant for Endpoint Protection Platforms,   ID:G00247705.  Five performers are in the Leaders Quadrant.  Their approximate order in the report: McAfee, Symantec, Kaspersky, Trend Micro, and Sophos.  This is a little bit of a switch from 2012 when the order was Symantec, McAfee, Sophos, Kaspersky, and Trend Micro Microsoft, like in the 2012 report, was the only company in the Challenger portion of the grid.   Analysts for the report - Peter Firstbrook, John Girard, and Neil MacDonald.  Congrats to all in this portion of the quadrant.

Probably not so pleased with the report are Threatrack Security, Beyond Trust, and Check Point Software Technologies.  These were    the bottom three in the Niche Players portion of the quadrant.  Beyond Trust was the overall lowest in the quadrant with respect to ability to execute.  Check Point Software  slipped from the Visionary portion of the grid to this quadrant.  Not good.

McAfee continues its assimilation into Intel, who purchased them a couple of years ago.  The McAfee name will disappear and become   Intel Security.  Kaspersky continues their assault on Trend Micro. Sophos is aggressively expanding their business offerings, has revamped their channel program,  remaining (and probably will remain)  a business focused security vendor.

The   Gartner Magic Quadrant for Endpoint Protection Platforms report is available for purchase on their website.  Some vendors such as Symantec have it available on their website for those who register.

Regarding the Leaders quadrant from the Gartner Magic Quadrant Endpoint report - “However, a leading vendor isn't a default choice for every buyer, and clients should not assume that they must buy only from vendors in the Leaders quadrant.  Some clients believe that Leaders are spreading their efforts too thinly and aren't pursuing clients' special needs.”

For more details on the Magic Quadrant and how it is created, read “Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes: How Gartner Evaluates Vendors within a Market”.     Sometimes a leader is not the best solution for a particular customer.  Despite that, you will see many   presentations where the vendor uses being in the Leaders quadrant   as a reason to buy from that particular vendor.

To see a blog on last year’s results -

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

RSA Conference USA 2014 – Where the World Talks Security - March addendum at the end

Original Post

It’s that time of the year again.  Not the coming of spring, but RSA Conference USA 2014, where the world talks security.  Over 350 security vendors seeking mindshare and wallet share.  RSA San Francisco is running February 24 through 28 at Moscone Center in San Francisco.  For those who haven’t used their free pass code, too late.

Before going, place a bet with your colleagues as to what you think the main theme will be.  Breaches and Advanced Persistent Threats may come back for a second year in a row. You may not be visiting Target as much this year. Though there is one on the same street as RSA!

This is Part 1 of Probably 3 about RSA Conference San Francisco 2014.  Don’t look for depth.  I’ll be looking more at things such as who has the best-looking booths, which booths someone on a budget can go to for   coffee, cookies.  In addition, and most importantly for some of you, what are the best tchotchkes being handed out?  

I’m not going to make it totally easy for people.  It’ll be a coin flip as to whether I just mention the tchotchke, or if I share the vendor name and booth location.

The usual suspects will be giving keynotes, it appears (sponsorship $$).  The final keynote by Stephen Colbert should be interesting.

For those who actual want to create a filtered list of whom to visit, the following link should be useful

One would think that vendors would take advantage of this, and possibly put in their competitors names.  I entered “Advanced Persistent Threat” and only five companies came up.  The companies - Lastline, LOGbinder, NPCore, Viewfinity, and Websense.  Sorry, companies that Gartner or Ellen Messmer  lists as being in this space that aren't showing up, you’re not going to be mentioned here.  That may put a fire in your eye, but I’m not going to do it.

For all attendees -   if you’re bringing your laptop, smartphone, or tablet to the event.  Leave them turned off as much as possible.  Install security SW before getting to the event.  If you log onto the RSA net, make sure it is the RSA network.  

It’s show time for some of the less desireables attending RSA.  Reporters at Sochi were finding their devices being attacked literally, as soon as they turned on their devices.  Remember to pack your “mdse”.

For Newbies at RSA Conference USA 2014

The attractive women (and men) working in the booth, don’t work for the company.  Any mobile numbers you received will be fake.

Wearing an “I worked with Edward Snowden” tee may get you some attention.

How many free pens and stress balls do you really need?

Are you ever going to reference or read the book that you stood in line for 20 minutes to get an autographed copy?  What’s your time value of money?

Are you really ever going to wear a tee shirt from a vendor that’s excessively big for you?

Unless you’re collecting them for other people, don’t’ bother.  Trade show vendor tee shirts will not make you a magnet.  If you must collect them (and they do fit!), promise yourself, that you’ll donate two of the ones you have at home to charity that you collected from last year’s RSA conference.

If the collateral is online, why collect it at the event?

Turning your badge backwards to collect competitive intel screams, “I work for a competitor.”  You should have gotten a free exhibitor pass and registered with that.  Did that already?  Are you wearing your booth shirt?  Busted!

If bored during a presentation, count the number of typos that appear on screen during a presentation. An alternative, sneeze or cough, every time an overused phrase or word appears.  Suggestions – leading edge, next generation, intuitive interface   plug and play, and ROI.  Has there ever been a company promoting a non-intuitive interface?  Make your own list using one of the many pens you’ve collected.

Watch one of the booth presentations where they have better tchotchkes, but require that you answer a question or be part of a group on stage.  Don’t register.  Come back later and play.  They’ll often be asking the same questions.

Go up to someone in the booth who doesn’t look like a salesperson, and ask them, “what are the top 3 or 5 things that make you better than (fill in one of their competitor’s names)?"  Go to that competitor’s booth.  Do the same thing.  Bonus points if you then return to booths and say, “Here’s what I’m being told by (fill in the blank).”  You may be given some better intel (or another pen).

On the last day of the show, do an exhibition hall sprint and collect the tchotchkes that you really want.  You probably may not even need to be scanned.

Have a good time!     Remember, you do have to justify the expense when you return to the office.  Pack those mds.


No parts 2 and 3.  Rain tempered the crowds a bit this year. The FireEye robot was nowhere to be seen.  People were lined up for a few of the keynotes.  Some helicopters were given away in drawings at booths.  The usual iPads at others.  The high tech equivalent of a fashionable women's LBD (little black dress) was given out a a number of booths, the LBT (little (actually, usually large or extra large) little black tee.   One give out read, "Life's a Breach", another read "We take the a** out of passwords.

Products in booths seemed to be more evolutionary rather than revolutionary  in nature.

A suggestion  to the RSA people and the presentation theatres in the exhibition halls.  A 42" monitor doesn't cut it when there are over 10 rows of people seating.  In a living room setting, 42" is ideal for sitting about 5 to 7 feet from the screen. Not good for reading multi line, multi font size presentations!  Open the top floor of the South Exhibition hall (not where the exhibits are) on the first day of the keynotes at the same time as the keynotes are given . Some people want to work rather than attend  the first two keynotes. was raining.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

AhnLab Faces Uphill Battle in US against FireEye with AhnLab Malware Defense System (MDS)

Silver sponsorship at RSA Conference USA 2014 in San Francisco  notwithstanding,  South Korea based AhnLab may face an uphill battle achieving success in the US with AhnLab Malware Defense System (MDS).  MDS is designed to combat Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) and Advanced Malware.  No press release has been issued, but AhnLab will also be showing AhnLab Malware Defense System   Enterprise (MDSE). This version of Malware Defense System isn’t described on AhnLab website yet. The below isn't a technical evaluation of Malware Defense System, MDS or MDSE. It's more of a business analysis. 

Why It May Be Difficult for AhnLab and AhnLab Malware Defense System (MDS) in the US

FireEye ( is the 800-pound gorilla in the industry.  They offer more form factors for their APT solutions over AhnLab Malware Defense System.  For example -   their NX series to combat web-based attacks has six flavors, supporting 50 to 40k users.  Their FX series for file protection comes in 2 sizes; up to 80k and up to 160k files per day, respectively.  The acquisition of Mandiant gives them an endpoint solution.  On Valentine’s Day, FireEye announced an Intrusion Prevention product FireEye® MVX-IPS.  Well, they pre-announced the product.  They are shooting for availability during the first half of 2014.  They promote that they have customers in over 40 countries.   

Crowded marketplace   - AhnLab is among the double handful of competitors Gartner mentions in their August paper “Five Styles of Advanced Threat Defense”.  Competitors besides FireEye include   dedicated APT vendors Lastline, Bromium, and Damballa.  Other competitors (Googling Advanced Persistent Threats) include Palo Alto Networks, Cisco, McAfee, Fidelis Security Systems, Trend Micro,  Bit9, and Tenable.  Everyone has their eye on FireEye 

Limited US Presence -   AhnLab decreased their staffing in the US at the start of the year to a handful despite having just opened their US/EMEA headquarters in the Santa Clara, CA less than two years ago.    

It takes a channel and partners - Two ways to try to   grow sales quickly are to  OEM your product and agressively develop a channel.  AhnLab devotes one  page to recruiting partners.  No Partner Portal.  No Education Portal.  FireEye has a well-developed partner program, including VARs, Value Added Distributors, System Integrators, MSSPs, and Technology Alliance Partners (over a dozen listed in their site).  FireEye’s reseller program seems “standard” with three tiers.

It takes customer support - FireEye has a multiple levels of support for their customers.  For Malware Defense System, AhnLab will have to build off a single email address they currently have for US/EMEA customers.  This suggests that support will be coming from South Korea.  Nothing about multiple levels of support.  Barracuda Networks has an amusing radio commercial asking if you want phone trees  and long distance support for your products.

It takes customers who will talk about your Advanced Persistent Threat product - It is difficult to get customers to publically talk about what security products they have on their network.  FireEye has Sallie Mae, Equifax, and the Department of Defense listed as well as a dozen anonymous case studies across a number of industries. FireEye claims that over 100 of the Fortune 500 are among their customers.
It takes marketing and noise - FireEye is “everywhere”.  They appear on multiple security web sites. Multiple CIO and CISO events.  Going public created a lot of visibility.  Their reports and Mandiant’s whom FireEye acquired shortly after the first of the year, get a lot of visibility.  FireEye is aggressive in issuing press releases about threats they have discovered and investigated.  They’re promoting fourteen security events (four in the US),   they’ll be at during the first half of the year.  AhnLab will be at two.  Most PR firms would consider just putting up a product description on your web site a sub-optimal way to announce a product.  That’s not the usual marketing strategy in the North America marketplace.

What AhnLab Malware Defense System May Have Going For it

NSS Breach Detection Study -   AhnLab, Fidelis Security Systems, and FireEye were the only three companies to complete a breach detection study by NSS Labs, ( ) last summer.  Fidelis put out a press release about their results, made their report available at no charge, and wrote a blog challenging FireEye to make their summary report available.  AhnLab put out a press release but hasn’t made the report available on their website.  FireEye wrote nothing.

Three types of protection in a single appliance - AhnLab promotes that they provide Web, email, and Content Security in a single appliance.  With FireEye, you would have to purchase three products.

Profits - AhnLab is one of the largest security companies in South Korea.  And profitable.  FireEye has yet to show a profit.  For 2013, Sales and Marketing expenses, by themselves, exceeded Revenue.  Profits and positive cash flow are good things for the long term.

Ultimately, prospects will have to bring the products in house and test them.  Gartner has looked at a number of companies offering a solution.  NSS Labs issued their reach study last summer and undoubtedly has another APT study going on.

For people visiting RSA 2014 in San Francisco  a number of the vendors offering solutions will be present.  Coffee and cookies in the AhnLab booth, at 11:30 each morning during the exhibition!  “Learn about the ultimate threat defense.  AhnLab’s announcing APTs Dead!”  (Sic) will be the topic of a talk by AhnLab executive Leo Versola on Wed. February 26 at 1:00PM in the North Expo Hall Briefing Center. Too late for a free RSA pass.

The window is closing for AhnLab and other Advance Persistent Threats vendors.  Obviously, FireEye has made it through.  AhnLab and other vendors are going to have a battle to be one of the other survivors and get share.  The press over some major attacks from cyber criminals Target Stores and over 110 million, among others during 2013  ensures  athat companies will be looking for a solution. craig kensek

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