Firm responds to blackout, worm worries

One security vendor is offering a free trial of its monitoring tool to show e-tailers and B2B sites how the East Coast blackout and Lovsan worm might be affecting their business.

With a major worm's progress slowing and a massive blackout downing systems last week, a Superior, Colo., security

vendor took the opportunity to urge online sellers and B2B sites to look at performance from their end users' perspectives.

Xaffire Inc. is offering a free 30-day trial of xFire 2.0, monitoring and alert software that can let businesses know when users are experiencing a slowdown.

While the software clearly won't do anything to stop the Lovsan worm or end a blackout, it simulates transactions entering a company's data center to gauge performance. As a result, a company can determine whether a slowdown is due to an overall network performance problem or a problem behind its own firewall. The software can also determine whether a server is infected by a virus or worm.

Once the problem is diagnosed, service reps can alert customers and trading partners about its existence, said Tom Ohlsson, Xaffire's vice president of marketing and business development. "Sometimes when [customers] just find out why, they're not quite as cranky," he said.

It's an approach that is worth a look, according to Dan Keldsen, director of IT and a senior analyst with the Delphi Group in Boston.

"Certainly, it gives you a different take than [most] security solutions would," Keldsen said. "My beef with security providers is their [products are] strictly technical offerings and don't treat the business group. I always see these sorts of things in terms of a roll-up to enterprise concerns, not just what's happening with the system."

While many large companies likely have tools in place to identify the root cause of problems, smaller companies -- like mom-and-pop sellers -- without a security monitoring service might benefit most from the free xFire trial offer, Keldsen said.

Xaffire was formed several months ago as a result of the merger of Matrix NetSystems Inc., a software company that addresses application performance problems outside the firewall, and Alignment Software Inc., which makes tools to deal with snafus inside the firewall.

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