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Good for you Marty Roesch

While I was traveling around the US last week, Cisco announced the acquisition of Sourcefire for $2.7 billion. A fantastic result for Marty Roesch and his team, I’m sure they are still celebrating.

It reminded me of how NetFort started, as we were helping some Irish customers address some of their IT security issues and generating much needed revenue through consultancy. Basically helping them install and configure the open source IDS (Intrusion Detection System) Snort, we realised a common pain was ‘ease of use’. Most organisations did not have the in house staff with the required technical expertise or time to manage such a technical system, to look at the ‘bits and the bytes’.  So we developed a product around Snort, an’ easy to use web GUI’.  Looking back on it I’m not sure how easy to use it was, but it was a big improvement on a CLI based system.

One of our early trials was with a US multinational with an operation in Dublin, very security conscious, very technical, great guys to work with and still a customer today.  I remember going back there after the 4 week trial to meet the ‘IT security guy’, and to his surprise we picked up on some unusual activity, unusual because he thought he had deployed the systems to block that activity, but it did not and we picked it up, lucky for us I thought.

But, the network manager came to the meeting and announced  ‘I want my SPAN port back’. Not good news for NetFort and for our chances of a sale.  When I asked him why, what did he need it for, he replied, ‘For troubleshooting, for looking at internal activity, for network traffic visibility, so I know the traffic in my network’

Back at base, we quickly realised that SPAN ports are valuable, that traffic is valuable, it can help with security, operations, network forensics, performance,historical troubleshooting, planning, etc.  The information is there, in the traffic, just extract it and present it at the right level.

So why not develop an engine that companies of all sizes, especially ‘medium size’ ones can use for all these pains,  a single point of reference that really really uses the SPAN port, combining a number of critical applications in one easy to use system.  A system useful for both the network and security guys, a system organisations of all sizes can afford to purchase, can use and is always available for multiple use cases around networking and security. The Netfort LANGuardian was born, thanks to the network manager who said ‘I want my SPAN port back’ and Marty for Snort……

Good for you Marty, I hope you and your team enjoy every cent.

John Brosnan
CEO NetFort