A couple of new products of interest
I had the opportunity yesterday to meet with two companies, each with very compelling stories to tell. The first was CipherTrust, makers of the IronMail appliance. The next was Intergrien, they make a enterprise monitoring and data integrity application called Alive(tm).
IronMail is an email gateway, which performs the obligatory SPAM and AV filtering, but their strength lies in their decision algorithms, which allow the appliance to intelligently route and secure mail. For example, let's say that I am Joe user, and I am sending sensitive sales information to a business partner of ours. Now lets say that the recipient knows nothing about securing email, but does know that if the email was to fall in the wrong hands, it would materially damage their business.
Normally, I (being he sender) would inquire about the various encryption techniques, and which one(s) the recipient supports. In this case, the recipient is unable to provide me with that information, and this is where IronMail's intelligent MTA comes into play. Based on criteria that I give it, it is able to walk a decision tree and attempt delivery using industry standard methods (i.e. PGP, TLS/SLL, S/MIME etc). Once it has found a method, which is agreed upon, it sends the message using the agreed upon method. If no agreed upon method is found, then it sends an unencrypted message to the recipient letting him/her know that there is a sensitive email waiting for them on a staging server, and that they can follow the link via SSL to retrieve it.
What this in effect accomplishes is it makes the often times troubling process of sending secure email almost a trivial operation. It takes the user/recipient out of the picture, and is able to handle all of the decision making on its own without having to know a whole lot about the parties involved.
The next product I was introduced to was Alive from Intergrien. On it's face, Alive appears to be just another monitoring tool in the same vein as HP Openview or Quest Software's Big Brother. Once you get past that first impression, you quickly come to appreciate the work and technology that has gone into making Alive what it truly is.
A little history here; I was first introduced to Intergrien's technology when they were called CreationPoint. In fact, when I joined LMB, CreationPoint was managing the production website for us, and was using the first generation of Alive to do so. In essence, Alive is an "agent-less" tool which using standard's based API's (i.e. WMI, DMI, SNM etc) can interrogate and gather a rather impressive amount of data from any element on the network. It then feeds this raw data into a number of patent pending algorithms, and actually "learns" the normal mode of operation for each element.
Once the application has "learned" your environment, it then sets (and allows you to set) low and high water marks based on what it has seen, and the current dynamics impacting the enterprise. For example, here at LMB we have a pretty predictable traffic pattern week over week, the only thing that upsets this pattern are large media buys, which can increase our traffic by as much a 4x. Now, Alive would (should) be able to instantly adapt to the increased traffic, reset its low/high watermarks, and alert you to anything that is considered "out of bounds".
Beyond the alerting/metrics gathering functionality, there is also a robust transaction/work flow tool that learns how your application works, and is able to point out bottlenecks to you regardless of what layer they are in. This is the Holy Grail for us, as we are constantly struggling with our application performance and how changes to the framework/application impact it.
I am hoping to bring both of these vendors back in for an opportunity to "proof of concept" each of their solutions to see how well they will perform in our environment. I will chronicle my experiences and results in future posts.