The recent global decline in the value of IT shares belies the fact that the growth of this industry in general, through Internet usage, e-commerce and communication is unrelenting. Opportunities still abound for entrepreneurial and innovative companies to compete in areas of growing concern, a major one being Internet security. It is in the latter area that a young South African company, SecureWorx (www.secureworx.com
), is pushing out the frontiers, with its focus on designing, developing and selling a range of network and data security threat management solutions that provide access security, transaction security and security services, engineered to protect information assets and assure privacy and security of broadband communications.
SecureWorx solutions are designed to meet the needs of customers in small offices/home offices (SOHOs), small medium enterprise (SME) remote office branch office (ROBO), SME headquarters, telecommuters and mobile workers, data centres, education, and government markets - particularly those using always-on, broadband Internet connections which includes satellite, digital subscriber line (DSL), and cable modem users.
Engineered for use by IT organisations with little or no security expertise, the company's products plug into the enterprises network infrastructure and remove much of the complexity traditionally associated with firewalls and VPNs. The company's line of integrated security systems, comprising hardware, software and Internet-based managed security services, collectively known as the Basilisk(tm) Security System, represent the new generation of security solutions for broadband Internet, delivering the necessary combination of performance, affordability, ease-of-use and manageability without foregoing scaleability, reliability, and availability.
The market opportunity
Taking the US as an example of the modern interconnected economy, it is estimated that there are some seven million SMEs that collectively account for 99% of the economy. Fewer than 55% of these have Internet connections and even less are using modern low-cost, high-speed access technologies. In addition to this a recent survey of Fortune 1000 corporations saw 40% cite Internet security concerns as the biggest entry barrier to their ability to conduct e-commerce. The likely use of security devices by SMEs is interpolated from this to be very low indeed.
SecureWorx in fact believes that the current penetration of the broadband SME Internet security market is less than 5%, and that the number of SMEs connecting to the Internet will expand rapidly, partly as a result of emerging broadband technologies such as DSL and cable modem that provide high-speed Internet connections at affordable rates. Due to these emerging technologies not yet being available in South Africa, the immediate and demanding market for SecureWorx thus lies outside of Africa, the major growth areas expected to be North America, Western Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region.
In terms of monetary value the International Data Corporation has estimated the market size for Internet security appliances such as the SecureWorx Basilisk(tm), to exceed US$1,3 billion in North America by 2003, with values for Western Europe and the Asia-Pacific region being US$836 and US$346 million respectively.
The origins of SecureWorx can be traced back to 1995 when it was launched as NetCraft (Pty) Ltd, the name being changed to SecureWorx South Africa (Pty) Ltd in early 2000.
During 2000, SecureWorx acquired the technical resources of Virus Protection Systems (Pty) Ltd, a CSIR initiative, creating an R&D; group with world renowned depth of skill in firewall, virtual private networking (VPN), quality of service (QoS), 3A transaction security (authentication, authorisation and administration), image composition analysis (ICA), intrusion detection, anti-virus, content filtering, vulnerability assessment and Internet managed security services (iMSS).
SecureWorx is a privately held company that has received more than US$1 million in strategic investment. Investors include ImagineerT Capital and the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa.
Basilisk(tm) VPN/firewall Internet security appliances
The Basilisk(tm) family of Internet security appliances are the companies' flagship products and the security foundation of SecureWorx's Internet managed security services portfolio. The Basilisk(tm) Internet security appliance family is an all-in-one ICSA certified security platform offering integrated firewall, remote access virtual private networking (VPN), quality-of-service traffic bandwidth management functions including integration support with a comprehensive and expanding array of value-added services such as: anti-virus, image content analysis, intrusion detection, strong authentication and realtime remote security monitoring and management to provide a complete network perimeter defensive shield.
The Basilisk(tm) can be easily and securely managed individually through the Internet browser or it can be managed with SecureWorx Basilisk(tm) Security Management System to enable network administrators to centrally configure, monitor and manage their distributed security networks. The Basilisk(tm) Remote Client provides remote access VPN support for telecommuters and mobile workers.
The Basilisk(tm) Internet Security Appliance delivers diverse business-class capabilities across a broad spectrum of managed security and VPN services. It can be deployed in a variety of configurations to facilitate both internal and external data communications.
Application areas include:
1. Firewall protection - provides a first line of defence against
Internet-based theft, destruction or modification of data;
2. Remote access VPN - to provide secure dial-up connectivity for telecommuters and mobile workers;
3. Public servers hosting support - allows restricted public user access to information on multiple public servers, such as Web, e-commerce or e-mail servers while maintaining the security of the private LAN;
4. Broadband connection sharing - enables multiple users to share a broadband connection delivering secure, cost-saving access for small-office and home-based PCs;
5. Intranets - for secure communications among LANs at branch and headquarters offices.
6. Extranets - to bolster customer, partner, and supplier relationships via security-enhanced e-commerce, Web centre, or specialised applications.
In December 2001, the Basilisk(tm) Internet Security Appliances were awarded the internationally accepted International Computer Security Association (ICSA) Firewall certification (ICSA Labs is an independent division of the American company TruSecure Corporation). This firewall certification provides customers with the assurance that the product meets a broad published standard and level of security. It also ensures that security products comply with the global industry's highest standards. (Currently, ICSA Labs certify 95% of the market's leading anti-virus software, firewalls, cryptography, e-mail scanning and IPSec products.) SecureWorx is one of only a few companies worldwide, and the only South African company, to have achieved this international recognition. As such, the BasiliskT product range joins those from leading NASDAQ listed Internet security vendors such as Check Point Software Technologies, Cisco Systems, Lucent Technologies, Nokia, Netscreen and SonicWall who similarly have been awarded this prestigious certification.
SecureWorx Vulnerability Scanner
This is an automated subscription-based service that provides network administrators with a 'hacker's eye view' of their network perimeter, including public servers, routers and gateways. The vulnerability scanning service examines a network perimeter for potential security weaknesses and reports these to the system administrator. SecureWorx Vulnerability Scanner also provides on-line expert and in-depth guidance as to how to quickly close these potential security voids. The subscription-based service can be tailored to the needs of the client and can provide scans on a regular scheduled basis or can be run on demand when policies, hardware or other changes are made to the system.
A unique 'in your pocket' portable Internet security solution in convenient key-chain form, aimed at OEMs. The key is an inexpensive identity token that can be used on any universal serial bus (USB) equipped device. As an authentication device, SecureIDKey opens and guards doors in e-commerce, e-banking, VPNs, extranets and WANs. SecureIDKey enables corporations to trust the identity of individuals who request access to protected content or applications provided over the Internet.
SecureWorx iMSS is a realtime Internet managed security service infrastructure enabling the delivery of proactive threat management services at attractive costs. For comprehensive threat management, the solution combines three components, these being, highly skilled security staff, tracking all new security threats, and realtime (24/7) monitoring, incorporating SecureWorx and other vendor threat management methodologies and solutions for security peace-of-mind.
Matching user requirements with channels to market
SecureWorx primarily markets and sells its products through a two-tiered Channel Partner Program consisting of leading Internet service providers (ISPs), partners providing co-location facilities management and/or Web hosting facilities, telecommunications companies, systems integrators, information security VARs, and professional services firms. Offering SecureWorxs products and services SecureWorx' Channel Partners provide enterprises with an out-the-box, comprehensive edge of network security solution. For users who rely on a VAR to configure and install the solution, SecureWorx' provides transparent and easily updated security through a direct, Internet-based secure connection to SecureWorx.
The value proposition for SecureWorx Channel Partner Program members is:
1. Revenue enhancement - channel partners realise a substantial source of recurring revenue from resale or referral of SecureWorx products and services.
2. Service improvement - Channel partners provide their clients with a complete solution by offering access to a full range of Managed Security Services and well as Security Professional Services.
3. Market differentiation - Channel partners are able to offer differentiated offerings through customised Managed Security Services and Security Professional Services.
4. Support - SecureWorx provides sales and technical training, marketing and public relations support, and collateral material enabling Channel Partners to quickly and easily offer end-to-end information security solutions.
As the core skills of SecureWorx lie in the R&D; field, the global trend has been followed with all manufacture being carried out in an ISO 9002 contract manufacturing facility located in Taiwan (ROC). This sub-contracting approach to manufacture significantly reduces overhead costs and offers more flexibility in terms of increasing production capacity and introduction of new products.
SecureWorx products are designed, built and tested to meet specific government/country regulations and certifications, including FCC, UL, cUL, TUV, VCCI, BSMI and CE requirements.
"Multiplication (a function of the product whole design) and acceleration (our ability to scale, and develop our business channel partners to execute with thoroughness and aggressiveness) is key to SecureWorx' success. Various strategies are being pursued to establish an international footprint (in particular Europe, Middle-East, the rest of Africa, and Australasia) and to expand our customer base through OEM licensing initiatives," says SecureWorx CEO, Kevin Archer.
"Being at the forefront of thought leadership requires SecureWorx to predict the future...."While we realise that there is no 'magic bullet' to solve computer crime, we realise that organisations require more than the traditional security solutions focused on managing access to devices, applications, and networks or disaster recovery aids aimed at recovering from viruses and malicious software microbe infections. Firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and servers all produce millions of lines of audit information daily. Buried in all that information are the footprints of intrusions. SecureWorx has created a separate R&D; initiative to pursue the development of threat management solutions which use data fingerprint correlation (blocking), and dynamic inoculation technology (updating) to watch and sort through all that audit information, in realtime, to stop the intrusion and close the vulnerability - before the attacker does any damage!"
Archer continues, "The company's ability to deliver increasing levels of security performance, reliability and capability in an easy to use offering is compelling to users. And although competitors are delivering well crafted alternatives, SecureWorx is a leader in architected threat management solutions delivering the infrastructure that simplifies the usage and management of firewall and VPN devices, setting new standards for simple-to-manage, edge of network security - enabling a safe connected world."
Archer concluded by saying that decision makers looking for reliable, low-cost, flexible network security solutions with broad coverage should be evaluating SecureWorx as a preferred supplier of next generation threat management solutions.
Call today: 086 022 0044
Tel: 011 207 6500
Fax: 011 805 9442
The face behind the SecureWorx initiative
Kevin Archer, Chief Executive Officer, SecureWorx, is very much an entrepreneur with more than 16 years experience in the IT field.
In 1991 he founded Automated Systems Engineering Technologies (Pty) Ltd, which today is a leading bespoke software development company. In 1999 he established Imagineer(tm) Capital (Pty) Ltd, an idea incubator and venture capital fund for technology-centric businesses. It was Imagineer(tm) which provided the essential venture capital funding to establish SecureWorx and Kevin joined the board of that company in June 1999 in the capacity of non-executive chairman, later becoming chief executive officer in March 2000. In addition to the strategic management of SecureWorx, Kevin serves on the board of Imagineer and its associate companies. In the many facets of his work Kevin provides a dynamic hands-on, accelerated and project-driven process of strategy development and implementation.