The greatest pleasure that we have in writing this section each year is seeing who has the innovation and staying power to make it to the Hall of Fame. To be in the Hall, a company must have been selected for three years as an Innovator. That’s a tough go because it says that not only is it still around – survival is good, of course, but not enough here – but it is still innovating. 

Many of our choices over the years also have appeared as Garter Innovators in the Magic Quadrants. We like that because it says that our choices not only are technically out in front, but they have creative, sustainable business plans and roadmaps for the future. In short, they know their respective spaces and what their place there needs to be. Better still, they know how to get there and have an executable plan for staying there.

One of our Innovators this year told us that if a company doesn’t innovate in the information security market it will not survive. More and more, we see that becoming a reality. It plays into the convergences we see also. For example, we have seen more and more small innovators taken over by large innovators – yes, we find there really are such things as large innovators – with the acquired companies becoming better rather than worse. That’s a very good thing.

The time was when it was axiomatic that an acquisition was mostly for the purpose of gobbling the technology and a few hot-shot employees and dumping the rest. To be sure, that still happens, but we have not seen it happening with the Innovators we look at this month.

The two vendors entering the Hall of Fame this year have been perennial favorites at the SC Lab. Their products are always welcomed in our Group Test reviews and we love working with their people. We will miss them in the Innovators issues in future years, but predict that they will continue to grow, prosper and bring us new products and services to test, review and, in some cases, fold into our own lab environments. 

We want to personally welcome to the SC Magazine Innovators Hall of Fame, Trustwave and Lighthouse Gateway. – Peter Stephenson, technology editor

Lighthouse Gateway

This Innovator caught our attention for its ability to take best-of-breed IBM identity and access management (IAM) and make it affordable and manageable by small and midsized businesses. By moving the technology to the cloud and wrapping it in the trappings of a much easier-to-use tool, Lighthouse made big company resources available to the rest of us. That, by itself, was an innovation and certainly qualified this creative company for the Innovators section.

AT A GLANCE 

Vendor: Lighthouse Security Group 

Flagship Product: Lighthouse Gateway 

Cost: Starts at $2,995 per month. 

Innovation: Moved best-of-breed identity and access management to the cloud, making it accessible for smaller organizations. 

Greatest Strength: The creativity, flexibility and knowledge to expand from the SMB market into the large business market while still providing value at all levels.

Over the past year, though, a curious thing happened. The market shifted a bit and Lighthouse added big companies – including one in the Fortune 10 – to its customer roster. Why would a big company, certainly able both to afford and to manage a full-featured IAM system on-premise, want to go to a SaaS provider for the same thing? The answer, it turns out, makes perfect sense, especially given Lighthouse’s significant expertise in the IAM-in-the-cloud arena. The reasons? Cost, time and overhead savings all encouraged these companies to move complexity to the Lighthouse Gateway.

Lighthouse certainly has the expertise and experience. Today, it manages 12 million identities in 57 different countries. But there is a lot more than just experience, and that top-drawer IAM application from Big Blue. Today’s enterprises are becoming more complex. For example, the self-service wizards that sit on top of the IBM offerings are becoming more complicated. Lighthouse experience goes a long way to save money for large customers. And what about branding?

Big organizations may have multiple brands. The Lighthouse Gateway approach allows multiple branding without forcing the customer to provide dedicated IT staff to configure and program the system. That’s the big innovation. Lighthouse’s ability to scale up from SMB to Fortune 10 while still using IBM for comprehensiveness, flexibility and feature set. Large companies can focus on their business, as they should.

As well, Lighthouse is known for having rigorous processes, especially those involving deployment and integration. This, of course, appeals to big companies. Best-of-breed processes, as well as products, have won the day for this Innovator. 

Trustwave

We are quite pleased to see Trustwave joining our Hall of Fame. This Innovator is one of the companies that we count on every year and it is a consistently reliable offering. This year, its flagship product is the Trustwave Secure Web Gateway (SWG). 

Much of today’s web security is based on reputation. That was fine for a while, but increasingly the content of big websites, such as social media sites, changes at a ferocious pace making reputation-based content filtering impractical. Drive-by malware infections affect sites just as they do visitors, so it is not impossible for a perfectly reliable site to be infected. Conventional wisdom used to be that if you don’t go to bad places, you would stay clean. 

AT A GLANCE

Vendor: Trustwave 

Flagship Product: Trustwave Secure Web Gateway 

Cost: Starts at $5,180 for a 100-user system running in VMware or $12,230 on a dedicated appliance. 

Innovation: Advanced ways to scan malware at the gateway that allows reliable identification of zero-days and obscure malware. 

Greatest Strength: Clear understanding of the mechanics of malware execution.

Today, however, only a bit more than two percent of porn sites are infected. It turns out that sites that one would expect to be clean are more likely to do harm. That means that your organization has a better than even probability that employees will bring malware into your infrastructure if you don’t do something to prevent it. That’s where the flagship product for this Innovator enters. SWG uses a number of advanced techniques to scan for malware in ways that identify the most difficult and obscure malware.

Where that leaves us is that web gateways must do malware identification in real time as the user browses the web. That’s a lot of analysis and, of course, there is the problem of zero-days. The SWG uses 30+ engines that break down data stream, detect malware, clean and rebuild. The gateway uses progressive filtering for performance reasons. The core of this capability is an innovation called The Entrapper. It breaks down the data stream, fixes it and rebuilds and it can do parts of pages as well as full pages. 

It’s innovations such as this that have earned Trustwave a place in our Hall of Fame. Not just one innovative product, but several have passed our way from Trustwave over the years, and we do not expect to see that slowing down any time soon.