Friday, 28 September 2007

Shifting sands

I have traditionally worked for companies where I end up talking in quite a lot of technical detail to people who often have better technical knowledge, and sometimes better security knowledge than I do. I'd be surprised if anyone else hadn't.

In my last job as a Product Manager, everyone I spoke to was more technical than me on the development side, and the customers I spoke to were the market leaders, the visionaries and early adopters. These are often better informed and better read than those who follow.
Before that, as pre-sales manager at a distributor, I dealt with network and security architects, product specialists and SEs on a daily basis. I often had to ask people to repeat themselves or slow down and explain - and this was before I went to Spain.

Previous to this I was at another vendor, in a similar position to that which I find myself now. Those of you who are regular readers will know they were a competitor of my current company, but I am not the kiss and tell type (not that I kissed any of them). I was the product specialist, but people usually knew more about the networks, or why they needed the security, than I did.
Encryption has never been mainstream, it is part of our everyday usage of the internet, but it's built in, so we barely notice SSL sessions being set up, or passwords being stored in an encrypted file on a server unless we are in the business.

Recently, i.e. this week, I have been traveling the country, visiting new customers, installing new kit and talking about security - as I planned to do from the start, and I'm really enjoying it. However, "The Customer" has changed. Whereas before I usually dealt with a technical guy who had demanded to use encryption in his project because it would help achieve something for the business, now the business is demanding that the technical guy use encryption to satisfy a regulation. They don't like it. They aren't as interested in it. It makes my job a lot harder.
The technology is easier to use, it breaks less often, it fills a specific business need, and is quicker to set up. The technical meetings are kept light hearted, because if they ever get in depth, I am the bad guy, no longer "the interesting guy".

I guess I should be glad, encryption is finally becoming more popular to the business, if not amongst the workers. I should be glad because I will get paid on what the business gets paid. I can't help feeling a little bit sad at the fact that the people I am working with just want to get it done though, rather than sharing in my interest as they have done before.

I guess it's my job to change that.

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