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Founded in Russia in early 1999 security software developer Agnitum’s first products made quite an impact in America. Jammer and Tauscan were created to detect and block attacks from hackers, and the Tascan product was so well received in the west that it earned an Editor’s Choice rating by PC Magazine. Not bad for a company that at the time had no U.S. operations.
Today the company has grown in size, and offers three main product lines aimed at home PC users as well as small and medium businesses. Alexey Belkin, chief software architect at Agnitum, discussed the company’s strategy with us.
Bright Hub: What benefits do you think the Agnitum product line has to offer a small to medium sized business, especially one that might have employees for occasionally work remotely?
Alexy Belkin: For many years Agnitum has been end-user-oriented, however, our home user solutions are successfully deployed at SMEs as well. The most popular offering within small businesses is our flagman product Outpost Firewall Pro which comprises a personal firewall engine, host protection to block zero-day threats and sophisticated malware, self-protection to avoid the product’s deactivation by nefarious software, anti-spyware to keep a single PC or a network clean of spying programs, and web control to block potentially unsafe web content.
As for now, the main benefits of our firewall product from SMB’s viewpoint are:
1) control of both inbound and outbound traffic
2) intrusion detection system and Ethernet protection for automated defense against vulnerability probes and internal breaches
3) web and transaction security to protect against web-borne risks and ensure safe online operations.
However, what we have to offer is not limited to the abovementioned. By the end of this year we’re planning to release a brand-new version of our enterprise-level product – Outpost Network Security 3.0. It will be built on our latest all-in-one home-user solution – Outpost Security Suite Pro 2009, which means strong antivirus (reactive) protection as an important supplement to the proactive defense. The new solution will allow easy central administration of groups of computers constituting a network. A system administrator’s delight, this complex corporate product will help keep track of all processes and applications as well as frequency of updates and personal status of PCs.
BH: How customizable are the products offered by Agnitum for a small business user? I would think the most stressful thing for a small business, where there may be no full-time IT staff, is to make sure that the software does its job of offering protection yet still allows the sharing of information between users.
AB: That’s true. When developing security products vendors have to keep the balance between rock-solid security and, actually, convenience and ease-of-sue without any prejudice to the former. We’ve struggled a lot to find this golden middle and current Agnitum’s products are now easily customizable and transparent. Despite the traditional three levels of product alertness (low, normal / recommended and high) we‘ve made a number of interface and functional tweaks to make things clearer for any user no matter what the experience. In the products of 2009 line there’s an option to switch between expert and basic views, the former to cater to the wealth of options for advanced users and the latter to fulfill the most common needs. Besides, all settings are accessible from the main window within just a couple of clicks.
Functionally speaking, Outpost Pro 2009 solutions do not require much user involvement due to specific techniques, such as the trusted publishers’ module which automatically allows all sorts of activity to digitally signed applications, or ‘auto-learn’ mode which enables a quiet study of user’s typical online activity in order to avoid superfluous questions in the future.
Needless to say, no product – be it Outpost Firewall , or Outpost Antivirus, or the security suite – should prevent small business users from sharing everyday information, however ‘paranoiac’ selected settings may be. What one can do to avoid potential false positives is go through a quick process of adjusting exclusions and white-listing applications that are specific for this or that enterprise and aren’t recognized as benign by default.
Alexey Belkin of Agnitum Talks about SMB Security Part I
An interview with Alexey Belkin, Chief Software Architect at Agnitum.