‘I was reading through the NitroSecurity press release last week, thinking about the implications of their RippleTech purchase. This is an interesting move and not one of the Database Activity Monitoring acquisitions I was predicting. So what do we have here? IPS, DAM, SIM, and log management under one umbrella. Some real time solutions, some forensic solutions. They are certainly casting a broad net of offerings for compliance and security.

Will the unified product provide greater customer value? Difficult to say at this point. Conceptually I like the combination of network and agent based data collectors working together, I like what is possible with integrated IPS and DAM, and I am personally rather fond of offering real-time monitoring alongside forensic analysis audits. And those who know me are aware I tend to bash IPS as lacking enough application ‘context’ to make meaningful inspections of business transactions. A combined solution may help rectify this deficiency. Still, there is probably considerable distance between reality and the ideal. Rich and I were talking about this the other day, and I think he captured the essence very succinctly: “DAM isn’t necessarily a good match to integrate into intrusion prevention systems- they meet different business requirements, they are usually sold to a different buying center, and it’s not a problem you can solve on the network alone.”

I do not know a lot about NitroSecurity and I have not really been paying them much attention as they have been outside the scope of firms I typically follow. I know that they offer an intrusion prevention appliance, and that they have marketed it for compliance, security and systems management. They also have a SIM/SEM product as well, which should have some overlapping capabilities with RippleTech’s log management solution.

RippleTech I have been paying attention to since the Incache LLC acquisition back in 2006. I had seen Incache’s DBProbe and later DBProbeSec, but I did not perceive much value to the consumer over and above the raw data acquisition and generic reports for the purpose of database security. It really seem to have evolved little from its roots as a performance monitoring tool and was missing much in the way of policies, reporting and workflow integration needed for security and compliance.

I was interested in seeing which technology RippleTech chose to grow- the network sniffer or the agent- for several reasons. First, we were watching a major change in the Database Activity Monitoring (DAM) space at that time from security to compliance as the primary sales driver. Second, the pure network solutions missed some of the critical need for console based activity and controls, and we saw most of the pure network vendors move to a hybrid model for data collection. I guessed that the agent would become their primary data collector as it fit well with a SEM architecture and addressed the console activity issue. It appears that I guessed wrong, as RippleTech seems to offer primarily a network collector with Informant, their database activity monitoring product. I am unsure if LogCaster actually collects database audit logs, but if memory serves it does not. Someone in the know, please correct me if I am wrong on this one. Regardless, if I read the thrust of this press release correctly, NitroSecurity bought RippleTech primarily for the DAM offering.

Getting back to Rich’s point, it appears that some good pieces are in place. It will come down to how they stitch all of these together, and what features are offered to which buyers. If they remain loosely coupled data collectors with basic reporting, then this is security mish-mash. If all of the real time database analystics are coming from network data, they will miss many of the market requirements. Still, this could be very interesting depending upon where they are heading, so NitroSecurity is clearly on my radar from this point forward.