Right Level of Management

By eweek  |  Posted 2007-11-12 Print this article Print

Vizard: So is there a customer you can talk about who you can detail how they used your software and how that process worked? Because its always a point of validation for people listening, is to say whos been down this path. And I dont know if they had a disaster that, you know, was worth actually invoking the DEFCON 4, or whatever you guys call it, when you actually get to that point.

Spencer: Well, I think probably the one that most people would relate to would be the Pentagon. And the Pentagon was in the midst of a program over 10 years to renovate the entire Pentagon. They had just completed renovating wedge one of the Pentagon. Fortunately, the plane hit wedge one. And as a result of it hitting wedge one, the loss of life was a lot less substantial than it might have been had that plane hit one of the other wedges. Within about six months after that, we were brought in to basically - they realized that when they tried to look at some of the failures they had within the Pentagon as a result of that incident occurring, that they were really scrambling to find out where things were, where their document - what services were impacted and et cetera. So as a result, we - our technology was brought into the Pentagon and we were now - I think were on wedge three right now. They rebuilt wedge one and weve done wedge two, were working on wedge three. And by 2010, that project should be complete.

Vizard: Now, the Pentagon, at least in some peoples minds, has sort of more or less an unlimited budget. So what does it cost to create the right level of management around this and at what point and what size company can afford to do this? How does it kind of roll out?

Spencer: I think, again, if you take a look at the organizations that have been sort of the innovators in our space, youll find its organizations like Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense in the case of the federal side. But also, airports. We have a number of airports that are using our technology now. Another huge transportation company has used our product to manage the shipment of packages through their airport facility. But I do believe that a smaller organization can certainly justify the investment. The investment, by the way, is not as much the cost of a product, but more the cost of basically maintaining - entering the data and maintaining the data and putting all the processes in place to make it work.

Vizard: Are we ever going to get to the point where the software can automatically discover where all the data points are and what all the systems are and then when those things get changed, send some kind of alert? Because it feels like right now theres a fair amount of labor involved in the actual process so I think the Nirvana that people are trying to get is, you know, how do I get to some level of automatic detection.

Spencer: Actually, the interesting thing about the data side of it - from our perspective, the problem is not getting the data into a system that Ive described, but more getting the data. And so obviously, discovery technology makes a whole lot of sense. There are three or four technologies out there today that do a reasonably good job of desktop discovery as well as server discovery and even going after the applications and determining what applications are there. We have a generic interface that weve built to support any discovery technology thats out there, and there are a number of them. And its actually pretty exciting the technologies that have been developed over the last three or four years, many of which now do an unbelievably terrific job of discovering information and are also agentless. In other words, they dont need to be deployed on every desktop, on every server, or every system out there in order to do the job they do.

Vizard: Do you think this is going to remain a boardroom-level issue because its been a few years since theres been a major disaster? I think Katrina might be the last one that people might remember. And it always feels like it takes a disaster of that level to get everybody kind of motivated around what to do. It feels like the technologys advanced considerably since the last big disaster but I dont think that businesses as a whole have, you know - I worry theyve become a little more complacent in the last few years and its just kind of slid down their list of things to do.

Spencer: I guess it depends on the enterprise. On the federal government side, I think theyre clearly focused on the problem and continue to be clearly focused because of the oversight they get from the Hill and just because of the nature of the way the federal government works. So I think theyre much more attentive to the possibility of another incident occurring, an event occurring. But even in the enterprise side, if you look at those infrastructures that are critical, and I would even throw in financial organizations, you know, where theyre - you can imagine what would happen in a financial organization. So I think those types of organization. Maybe some of the other types of organization such in the retail and those areas may get a little complacent. But I dont think the organizations that have critical infrastructure today are letting it get out of control.


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