“You shall not pass!”

Ever have that day where you just feel a bit contrarian? Like, just for fun, being a little bit of an ass? I think we all have that day now and then – it is that day I don’t feel like letting the guy cut me off when he didn’t get into the merge lane properly so I hug the tailgate of the car in front of me. Or I’m playing Blizzard’s new shooter Overwatch as Bastion, just repeatedly gunning down the same enemies again and again with the gatling gun while taunting them on the mic.

I was feeling a bit that way today, and I really don’t know why (maybe it was rolling off a great weekend of charity poker tournaments, beach visits, and dinners with friends and I need to re-balance), but I started thinking about ‘Why people should not buy the SkySecure Systems from us…’ Not being facetious about it either – you know those fake rhetorical questions we ask so we can make answers where using our product is really the only obvious solution such as:

Trite rhetorical question: ‘Who should NOT use Skyport?

Obviously contrived answer: ‘People who really want to get hacked soon and lose their jobs and customers and have their boss end up on the Wall street Journal bemoaning the evils of an unregulated Internet’. These are worse than Internet click-bait…Serious answers, though:

Your entire business is in the cloud. This is increasingly popular for newer companies – they put all of their IT in ‘the cloud’ using AWS, Azure, GCP, or others. There are literally no servers, storage, backup, and very minimal networking in the business.
Today our product portfolio consists of a system designed to secure on-premise computing resources and applications. If your entire business in already in the cloud, then we’re probably not the best fit.

As companies grow they often find that there comes a breakpoint where for specific critical systems it is more cost-effective or better for local performance reasons to bring an application from the cloud back ‘in house’. If this happens in your business we should probably chat — building that foundation right for internal computing is critical.

The application you need to secure is not Linux- or Microsoft-based. We spent almost all of our qualification time working on recent (past 5-7 years) of Linux distributions and a bevy of Microsoft Windows versions ranging from Windows NT SP5 to Windows Server 2003/2008 and more recently 2012R2. We have not taken the time yet to qualify virtualized instances of some of the less dominant OS choices – not a judgement call on their value, just the proper application of resources against market size.

Based on our recent work on the SWIFT system we will probably have to prioritize a Solaris x86 implementation and vet that next. I wonder if we will ever get to OS/2.

You have built a system like SkySecure in-house and have it deployed for the same target applications. I have talked to a few large enterprises that have staffed and funded projects to build in-house a security system and capability set that is similar to what we have developed. I haven’t found anyone who has actually completed the project yet, or said it was even remotely simple. I think to some folks it may seem simple at first, but then the reality of the corner cases, size of the data store, depth of the necessary analytics and reporting, and frankly the lack of mature and consistent interfaces across vendors and/or software components and frameworks comes to bear and to most enterprises so far it is an impossible project to deliver.

You really do not care about the security of your business assets. I am specifically trying to not be sarcastic here, and it is hard, but there are organizations who really don’t care about security. I don’t think it is a majority of businesses, but they do exist. Often these businesses will use a set of service bureaus and outsourced capabilities such as cloud providers and credit card processing services rather than building these capabilities themselves — so they end up still having some on-premises computing requirements but really don’t focus on security one way or another.

High Performance Computing Cluster: stateless, scale-out computing systems. Dan Backman, technical marketing leader extraordinaire, and I were just chatting about this one. The reality is that in an HPC cluster we simply do not have the computing performance in the system, the I/O interface types, the bare-metal performance, or the disk subsystems to play. It also happens to be the case that the actual data processed on any given node is not the high-value target — the control point system and gateways to the storage subsystem are. They are where security measures like what SkySecure brings make the most sense.

Thanks for reading through this, I had a good time writing it. It is equally as important to know where your product does add significant value for your customers and focus on that, as it is to know who should never be buying it and walk away from those potential business opportunities.

I can now stop incessantly tapping the elbow of the guy next to me, who thinks it is his divine right to hang over the armrest… so maybe this did work cathartically!

dg – @dgourlay