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Archive for the ‘Dog House’ Category

What’s my deal? Not settling for mediocrity

April 2, 2008 1 comment

Know what bugs me?  Manufacturers that aim for mediocrity.  That’s a sure way to end up in my Dog House.  I want manufacturers and service providers to be great. I want all the companies I’ve ever put in the dog house to be great.  But just making sales, making money, does not constitute greatness.  Heck, porn sells, too.  Bragging about sales figures bores me.  Solving big problems for end users interests me.

Categories: Dog House, Manufacturers

Integral faux pas may point to impending doom

August 20, 2007 2 comments

I like so much of what I read and hear about Integral Technologies in Indianapolis.  The company has a strong brand, apparently functional and reliable products, and enthusiastic backing by parent company, Schneider Electric (the recent acquirers of Pelco).

However, the company is sending a confusing message to the market.  In Integral’s marketing collateral you’ll find expressions like this one I just came across in a press release: "Integral Technologies, Inc., is a worldwide provider of IT security solutions…"

When a Chief Security Officer, a procurement director, or any consumer of security products thinks of all the security problems that need to be solved, the only way to remain sane and to make sense of the available solutions is to segregate them into buckets or categories.  The biggest buckets are IT security, physical security and public safety.  Some would also add homeland security as its own bucket.

Somebody at Integral obviously thinks they are in the IT security business.  But they are not.  IT security is the world of antivirus, network firewalls, privacy controls, data encryption, identity management and the like.  That ain’t the business of Integral.

The Integral folks think they clarify the matter by adding: "For more than 13 years, Integral has specialized in the research, development, sales and support of security hardware, software and peripheral products. The company is well-known in the industry for its scalable security solutions that span the entire technology spectrum, from analog to pure IP network-based systems."  Well, scores of true IT security solution providers could say the same thing.

Integral is a physical security vendor leveraging software and networks.  In that sense Integral is a "security convergence" vendor, too.  But IT security as an expression belongs to the IT security bucket.

This is a small, almost nit-picky complaint, but I think it is important.  Customers of security solutions – from huge government agencies down to small retail operations – (not to mention journalists, consultants and other "consumers" of security industry marketing) rely on marketing folks to clarify, differentiate, and organize information about security.

The devil is in the details in this industry.  If Schneider Electric doesn’t focus on little details like marketing messaging – especially on widely circulated press releases. Maybe it’s too big to fix the growth and strategy challenges facing Pelco, or Integral, or any other subsidiary.  …which means Schneider Electric may be a catastrophic train wreck just waiting to happen.

They Talk About “Encryption.” They Must Be Smart!

from our Geeks Who Love To Poke Fun At Marketing People department

Schlage sent out this mailing recently.  Can you guess why Locksmith Mike was so
annoyed?

Schlage_2_page_1

Schlage_2_page_2_2

Problem #1 (simple math)

26 bit standard card format: pnnnnnnnnxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxp

p=parity bits

n=facility code

x=card ID

65,536 possible card IDs

16,777,216 possible unique IDs if you use included the
facility code but that’s weak…

Problem #2 (the really annoying one)

Proximity isn’t encrypted. It’s just transmitting a unique ID. It is subject to man in the middle attacks, play backs, etc…

So does this mean that if I sniff their communications, I
can remotely send their unlock command by doing a play back? That would suck…

Do I want to trust a company that doesn’t understand a
simple prox card or a partial reason why the industry is moving towards smart
cards? Do I want to be the bozo who buys
a product like this thinking it’s accurate?

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