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Be Skeptical of 'Market-Speak'

Maybe I've sat through one too many vendor meetings. After a 30-minute monologue, complete with PowerPoint slides showing how this widget mimics the behavior of some unrelated system and the benefits thus derived, the presenter takes a breath and asks: "Any questions?" Invariably my response is, "In English, what is this thing's function?"

Case in point: a recent meeting with TippingPoint Technologies regarding its UnityOne, a network intrusion-prevention device that detects and optionally blocks attacks passing through it. During the briefing, CEO John McHale said the device patches system vulnerabilities. "Patches systems?" I asked. "You mean it installs software on servers?"

"Well, no," McHale replied. "It blocks the vulnerability."

"That isn't patching," I countered.

McHale also said UnityOne blocks all attacks. I clarified that UnityOne blocks only the attacks that pass through it. "No, no," he said. "It blocks all attacks. It sees all traffic."

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