ISS: From Gate-Watcher to Gatekeeper

By Mel Duvall  |  Posted 2002-09-16 Print this article Print

Dossier: Internet Security Systems made its name in the '90s with a new form of security network intrusion detection. Now, ISS is pushing into the burgeoning market for managed security services.

As a pioneer of a new form of security network intrusion detection in the mid-1990s, Internet Security Systems (ISS) made a name for itself. The company's early start in the field plus its technological edge helped it claim slightly more than 50% of the market. Now ISS is pushing into the burgeoning market for managed security services. The services are aimed at companies that lack expertise or resources to secure their own infrastructure.

PDF DownloadThe managed service is popular with smaller organizations, but it's having a harder time taking root in larger companies. Lloyd Hession, chief security officer for Radianz, a New York-based firm which operates a trading network on behalf of large brokerage houses, prefers to be the gatekeeper. "It's no knock against managed services; they certainly have a role to play," he says. "Our clients came to us because of the security we could provide them. We're talking about high-dollar, mission-critical transactions."

Overall, Hession is pleased with ISS' products and ongoing support, although he experienced some problems early on in their relationship. "We had a lot of questions and they didn't always know the answers. The good news is they found the answers," he says.

Habeeb Qadri, president of MSH Consultants, acknowledges that the transition to a managed service can be difficult. "Companies love it, but a lot of information technology people hate it," says Qadri, a former technology chief at Oracle who has handled security issues for Charles Schwab, Pacific Bell and others as a consultant.

To guarantee network security, ISS takes away security privileges from the in-house technology staff. That is the chief cause of the friction, Qadri says.

For Deb Rich, senior network engineer with the University of Colorado Hospital, there were no such conflicts. Handing over security management to ISS made sense. "We don't have the manpower, and they have the expertise to do it better than we could," she says. The hospital has been using ISS' managed security services for about two years, and Rich gives the service and support a high rating.

Internet Security Systems
6303 Barfield Road, Atlanta, GA 30328
(404) 236-2600

Ticker: ISSX
Exchange: NASDAQ
Employees: 1,200

Tom Noonan
President, CEO
Launched company in 1994 along with Christopher Klaus. Previously held senior management position with Dun and Bradstreet Software. Has engineering degree from Georgia Institute of Technology and business degree from Harvard.

Christopher Klaus
Co-founder, Chief Technology Officer
Developed the company's first software program and flagship product, Internet Scanner, in 1992 while attending Georgia Institute of Technology.

Mike Starr
Vice President, CIO
Has 26 years in technology industry. Previously, worked at Home Depot for 14 years as a member of technology team.

Greg Gilliom
VP, Product Development
Responsible for company's X-Force team of security researchers.

Specializes in products and services to detect network intrusions, and to block unauthorized access. Company has made a push into the managed security services arena, with managed firewalls, intrusion detection.

Reference Checks

Lloyd Hession
Chief Security Officer
(212) 415-4600
Project: Deployed ISS RealSecure Guard technology on its private financial trading network. Network handles billions of dollars in transactions between brokerage houses.

University of Colorado Hospital
Deb Rich
Senior Network Engineer
Project: The Denver-based hospital has outsourced firewall and intrusion detection management to ISS after deciding it did not have the expertise or resources to do it in-house.

Oppenheimer Funds
Mike Hager
Chief Security Officer
(303) 768-3200
Project: Has installed ISS' RealSecure intrusion detection software at every point of presence at the mutual fund company that managed more than $125 billion in assets as of this past June. The firm manages software internally.

MSH Consultants
Habeeb Qadri
(650) 344-0989
Project: The Los Altos, Calif., Internet security and firewall consultant has deployed ISS software for a number of customers, including Charles Schwab, Pacific Bell and Synopsis.

Metropolitan Life Insurance
Mike Stoico
Security Specialist
(212) 578-2211
Project: Has used ISS' RealSecure monitoring and intrusion detection software to guard its firewalls for about six years at the New York City-based insurance company.

Executives listed here are all users of Internet Security Systems' products and services. Their willingness to discuss their experience has been confirmed by Baseline.

Contributing Editor
Mel Duvall is a veteran business and technology journalist, having written for a variety of daily newspapers and magazines for 17 years. Most recently he was the Business Commerce Editor for Interactive Week, and previously served as a senior business writer for The Financial Post.


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