"Will the average bank care if the hacking underground
can examine the basic source code of the security software
protecting its networks? That's what information-security company
Guardent is about to find out.
On Dec. 11, the Waltham (Mass.)-based company rolled out a
hardware security appliance that relies solely on open-source
programs to protect customers. Guardent will use these appliances,
priced at $1,500 a pop, to monitor and guard corporate networks.
That's a fraction of the cost of most integrated security
One small step for Guardent, one giant leap for open-source
security. Corporations are loath to take a chance on a piece of
security software they don't completely trust. But Guardent doesn't
seem to be worried. Open-source proponents have long argued that
their software is more secure due the exposure of the raw code to
thousands of eyeballs, and the ability of anyone using the software
to incorporate code changes to quickly patch vulnerabilities.
What's more, Guardent will emphasize top-quality service first,
good software second. "The thing that has the value is the service,
rather than the software itself," says Guardent co-founder Daniel