Taher and I continue our discussion of the security marketplace, and Taher’s vision for Tumbleweed’s product roadmap, as the company takes on its turnaround challenge.
SM: Can you explain the rational of Cisco acquiring IronPort? TE: Cisco wants to go upstream. They have a lot of infrastructure equipment, and they are working on the self-defending network concepts. Part of that involves application traffic. The only space that is too big to tackle itself is the anti-spam problem. IronPort was one of the first to get into anti-spam, and they did a good job. It makes sense for Cisco to want to sell, through the existing channels, this type of product.
SM: It is the anti-spam appliance which was the main driver for the acquisition, not email data security? TE: Definitely, they have never been that strong on email security. The space, however, is very busy. There are a lot of people looking at if from different angles. What you really want is a single suite of products which solves all of these problems at once. People today have to work with a number of different vendors to solve a bunch of different problems. These products never talk to each other, so there is an awful lot of manual work required.
The right thing to do, if it even exists, is for fewer vendors to provide more complete solutions. You can go buy a suite of things; anti-virus, anti-spam, data leakage protection, encrypted email, all packaged in a way that is easy for companies to use.
I personally believe that this market is just as big as the firewall market. Think of it this way … if you are responsible for a company, and you are building out a network, naturally today you will buy a firewall – always, every time. You must secure the infrastructure. If you extend that just a bit, wouldn’t you always purchase another appliance to protect your data from contact with random things? To me, it sounds reasonable. It just has to be as easy to use as a firewall, and it needs to be as easy to manage. If this happened, the market could actually expand.
SM: I suppose it depends on the problems which are being solved. In email security there are anti-spam products which are not hardware based, but software based. TE: The end solution, I believe, will have hardware and software. The combination is very powerful.
SM: You vision, your solution, will include spam, antivirus, and other forms of email security? TE: That’s right, and we have bits and pieces of it now. Add in encrypted email, sharing by policy, and you get a suite of products.