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David Hill
David Hill
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Red Lambda: Security Revolution Or Just Evolution?

Security statistics are depressing. The bad guys seem to be overwhelming the good guys, even when the good guys are well-known security vendors. So when an emerging company, such as Red Lambda, claims to have software that significantly improves the odds for the good guys, you need to pay close attention.

Security statistics are depressing. The bad guys seem to be overwhelming the good guys, even when the good guys are well-known security vendors. So when an emerging company, such as Red Lambda, claims to have software that significantly improves the odds for the good guys, you need to pay close attention.

As an industry analyst, I am briefed by vendors large and small (and in-between, as well). Large vendors have a rich variety of products, and trying to keep track of everything is a little like being a ringmaster at a three-ring circus. Smaller companies (especially startups) tend to focus on one (or, at most, a few) products.

That can be somewhat limiting, so in examining a smaller company, I look for a defensible value proposition that enables it to clearly differentiate itself from the competition and enable it to compete effectively with larger, established companies that have all the resource advantages (large installed base, solid distribution channels and a well-endowed R&D infrastructure, among other things). That is not to say that the smaller companies cannot compete with the giants; as we well know, many have done so successfully. However, for every truly successful startup, how many more struggle to gain traction and profitability, have modest success or are, frankly, failures?

Most startups have a decent story or at least enough salesmanship skills to get hard-nosed or even reluctant venture capitalists to supply funding. Still, many of these companies are a variation on a theme. SSD startups are popular today, but identifying the winners and losers is hard, at best. Others may have brilliant ideas, but market forces may make success difficult--for example, a maker of a software product that is best sold through a service provider, but the service provider cannot make as much on the service engagement as it would prefer or demand.

Other startups have a clearer path to success. They offer a compelling value proposition, and adoption by many, many enterprise customers is a reasonable assumption. Now, it is too soon to say whether Red Lambda will be in the winner’s circle (as there is many a slip between cup and lip). However, pay attention to what Red Lambda can do.

Security is always a major topic on the CIO agenda. The number of technologies that address security issues, from oldies, such as firewalls, to newer technologies, such as security event appliances, is mind boggling. Yet threats keep on mounting. Anti-virus technology has to meet new threats quickly after the fact. Responding to threat vectors in real-time is difficult, especially when the threat is hard to identify. And the bad guys seem to possess deep knowledge of the seams or holes in the software aspects of the information infrastructure, including applications, database systems and operating systems.

David Hill is principal of Mesabi Group LLC, which focuses on helping organizations make complex IT infrastructure decisions simpler and easier to understand. He is the author of the book "Data Protection: Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance." View Full Bio
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