Open-Source Security Is Opening Eyes

    Date19 Nov 2002
    1008
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    Back in 1999, Dave Wreski was working as an Internet security architect at United Parcel Service (UPS ). A aficionado of Linux -- one variety of the free and nonproprietary type of software known as open source -- Wreski thought he . . . Back in 1999, Dave Wreski was working as an Internet security architect at United Parcel Service (UPS ). A aficionado of Linux -- one variety of the free and nonproprietary type of software known as open source -- Wreski thought he saw a future in computer security. In May of that year he ponied up $100,000, hired two programmer friends, and launched a company called Guardian Digital in Allendale, N.J. Originally a security consulting firm, Guardian Digital quickly morphed into a seller of security hardware and open-source software for e-commerce, e-mail, and so-called perimeter servers that run firewalls, intrusion-detection systems, and virtual private networks.

    At the time, Wreski was bucking conventional wisdom: After all, who builds a security system from free software, when proprietary systems are seemingly safer? Today, however, Wreski's dream doesn't seem so ridiculous. Guardian Digital now employs more than 20 people and boasts more than 5,000 customers for its hardware, software updates, and support. They're mostly small and midsize companies, but they also include Sony Electronics (SNE ) and AT&T New Zealand.

    Wreski says Guardian Digital turned profitable eight months ago and is growing by 10% each quarter, much faster than the low single-digit growth for the overall security sector, according to tech consultancy Gartner. "I think there was some apprehension about [the software] being free. But that has changed," says Wreski, who adds that he's entertaining funding offers from venture capitalists.

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