Thursday, 28 February 2008

SafeNet acquires Ingrian.

I *think* I'm going to be the first to blog about this.

Yesterday Ingrian Networks was acquired by SafeNet. You might have noticed I've been less vociferous than usual. This is one of the reasons why. Easier to say nothing during a takeover than to accidentally let things slip. (Tsk, a split infinitive.)

Not sure where this leaves me job-wise, but in my experience nothing changes overnight with these things, and I'm off to Venice for a week on Saturday. I'm going to let some other people comment on it before I add my 2 cents, but I think this is a VERY smart move for both companies.

Now all we need is some file encryption and a little data integrity...

Monday, 25 February 2008

State of the keys

I'm so busy at work at the moment that I'm not really getting much time to blog, so I thought I'd do the next best thing and talk about stuff that I've read which is worth a read. I'm sure Noel Coward said something about quoting someone else when you haven't got anything intelligent to say yourself, well this is that.

This article in Dark Reading made me sit up a bit when I thought encryption was being knocked as being unsafe. Actually it was specifically about whole disk encryption. The crack in whole-disk encryption?
“If you thought your sensitive data was safe with the encryption solution you’ve
chosen, think again. To quote the research abstract, “Though we discuss
several strategies for partially mitigating these risks, we know of no simple remedy that would eliminate them.”
Follow this up with the Quote Of The Day from InformationWeek Daily:

"Fundamentally, disk encryption programs now have nowhere safe to store their keys."
-- Princeton computer science professor Edward W. Felten

And once again I feel safe and vindicated in my choice of employment. I made the jump into data integrity about 6 years too early, but I think it will be a big part of a new range of Information Sharing and Data Classification products. I even made the jump into encryption and key management products 6 years ago, but that was then, now everyone not only wants one, they need one.

OK, so I maybe struck a bit lucky, but from the crest of a wave you can see the next wave coming.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Stating the bleeding obvious

Stating the blindingly obvious is something which can get you a long way in business. Before anyone gets worried that I'm talking about them, relax, your cover is safe, this is a general post.
I wrote a while ago about the channel in the UK, something which Americans seem to struggle with, hell, the English seem to struggle with it too, it's not that simple. The basic premise of the channel in the UK is that companies on the West Coast of the US who do not have a presence in the UK can ship out some kit to our little island, maybe spend some time training up a few engineers and Bob's your Uncle, a ready made sales and engineering force exists in a new region. Of course it's never that simple, if you don't watch the channel a bit more closely it dries up and withers.

I wrote even more recently that it would be a good business proposition to start a company which watched a number of these US companies on behalf of the US side as they were positioned in UK distributors and resellers. Indeed I may still do it one day, when I get the time and the job offers dry up.

In the meantime I'm enjoying where I am, very successful and very lucrative, especially when we're selling so much. A friend who I used to work with as an SE, and now occupies a management position at a previous company (on the West Coast) just wrote to me saying:

I've found that most venture-backed small companies have two common traits:

- they don't promote from within since they have a addiction to hiring someone who's "done it before." Unfortunately, this practice often results in hiring someone who did it once out of sheer luck and can never repeat his/her success.

- they have a very difficult time accepting the thought that a remote employee can contribute in any way other than field sales. Even if you can convince them otherwise you are then fighting a constant battle to be included in decision-making...out of sight; out of mind.
Ouch. I guess I knew all of this though. It's true to say that I'll never be in upper management at any US based company, that would, after all, be silly, based from my house in Winchester, Hampshire, UK. Maybe I'll never be someone who did it once out of sheer luck on the US side, but if/when I am one on this side of the pond, I can see a lot more business coming my way. In fact, I have a steady stream of jobs coming my way just for being in the right business.

However, if you are one of the guys on the West Coast thinking that you don't need anything other than field sales, be very careful, this is very short-sighted. Personally speaking I get to have a huge say in decision making. I am included in Product Management, in fact they go out of their way to have a call with me at a different time every week so they are getting proper regional feedback. I am included in Sales decisions because I have to know what's going on in my region. In short, I'm not used as a tool, but a self governing part of the whole. Currently.

I'm pretty pleased about where I am at present, and I think it will take me to new levels both within the company and in terms of reputation. Then of course I have a ready made business plan just waiting for me.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Viva Las Vegas

I've come out to Las Vegas for the Ingrian sales conference this week, and I have to say I don't really like it. The atmosphere in the casino under the Mandalay Bay Hotel is completely fabricated (apparently they pump oxygen in to keep you awake, but there are no clocks or windows so you don't know what time it is... nice). The atmosphere in the sales conference was all together much more positive. Profits are at an all time record high, partnerships are rewarding, product management is working, support is good, the SEs are fantastic, etc.
In fact, so good has our last quarter been that I'm once again looking for someone to join me in an engineering capacity. It seems that I attract such growth wherever I go at the moment. If only it were all me...

Our success as a key management solution is of course all down to the requirements of PCI, it has been a huge driver and something which not many people were able to predict. Listening to the conversations around the table tonight, I don't even think anyone at Ingrian quite predicted it in fact, but some people with a passion for technology built something that they believed in, and after a lot of hard work and just a little luck, things are looking really very good.

We discussed our competition, and will go into more detail tomorrow on this, but the reality is, there's nothing that quite matches up. It would be easy to get complacent in such a position, but there is still more development going on, and more partnerships being forged. I'm even managing to get involved in this business development on the UK side, which is going to be great fun, even if nothing else comes of it, which is unlikely.

I've only been here a short time (Ingrian I mean, although I haven't been in Vegas long either) but I've already gone through a steep learning curve, and have worked very hard to get where I am. That hard work is already paying off, and now I'm getting to see some of the rewards.

However, tonight I'm jet lagged, feeling sore and missing my wife. It just brings home to me all the more how the shiny dice and flashing lights really mean nothing. So when I won $400 this evening, again it meant nothing, it was the taking part that counted.