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Hello from the NetSec show in San Fran

Dave Joachim here from Network Computing and Secure Enterprise magazines, coming to you from sunny San Francisco, where our NetSec conference kicked off today. As I write I'm enjoying a glorious landscape view of the Bay Bridge from my hotel room window. Yes, it pays to check in early.

I've had one of those marathon trade show days, evidenced by the layer of sweat covering my forehead. Back to back vendor meetings all day. I only had to fight back yawns during the last meeting. Not bad.

Anyone with even an ouce of claustrophobia will have a hard time of it here at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero. The show floor is in the basement. The ceiling is low and the booths are all crammed together. It's manageable as long as you take frequent breaks outside into the crisp bay air.

The cross-country trip is proving worth it, though. Day 1 served me up some interesting characters from a range of security providers. I kicked off the day at Starbucks with Steve Schall of Nokia, sponsor of the first day's luncheon (thanks for the grub, Steve). He tells me there are more mobile devices than PCs attached to the Internet now, which certainly is fortunate for a company that makes cell phones and mobile security products. Steve got pretty jazzed talking about Nokia's SSL VPN product, which Nokia got working on a while ago when it realized that there would be a swarm of mobile devices coming into the enterprise, sanctioned and unsanctioned, and they would all require secure access to corporate data.

Nokia is using our show to tell the world that version 2.0 of its Secure Access System is available. It adds features called Single Sign-On and Configuration Replication. The first feature is pretty self-explanatory, but the second one gives IT guys and gals a way to set access configurations on one gateway and replicate those settings to other gateways.

I had some cell phone envy when Steve broke out his Nokia phone, which flips open to reveal a handy thumb keyboard. I've got one of those old Nokia brick phones, scarred by all the times I dropped it on New York City pavement.

I also met with Jesse Casman and Janet Hendrickson, marketing folks from a little startup called Tablus. It's one of a handful of new security vendors that focus on outbound content. Tablus's software, delivered inside an appliance, uses linguistics analysis to identify content that should not be leaving the enterprise, either for competitive or regulatory reasons. It's a passive system, in that it doesn't block the content; it only flags it for review. They told me of one customer who had an employee who forwarded his email to his AOL account during an outage of his email servers. Until his employer installed the Tablus Content Alarm (alarming name, no?) they didn't know that he had left the forwarding feature active for 18 months. Bad boy.

I got a kick out of the names of Tablus's competitors, including Vontu, Vericept, Vidius and Verdasys. It sure was smart of Tablus to pick a T name for differentiation.

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