I am writing to express my utter dismay with your coverage of CounterSnipe product range within the IDS/IPS review in the August issue of SC Magazine.
The article implies that CounterSnipe no longer ships a preconfigured appliance containing the software reviewed by SC Magazine. This is not correct. It is clearly stated on our website that our IDS/IPS systems are available as software only (i.e., you are going to use your own hardware) or as a preconfigured appliance. Furthermore, the same information was conveyed to your test staff prior to the product review.
The write-up then goes on to talk about the need for a computer to install the software. Well, we said this in the product submission sheet. We provided your staff with all the information about what equipment was required to test our software. Your test lab was not prepared with any of it in time to conduct the test. To top the bill, eventually I was advised that your test lab did not have the budget to buy a $39 network card in order to complete the test.
As for support, I am not sure that either Peter or his staff can actually say that they were lost for technical support...in fact, I thought if nothing else we will definitely score 5 for this as we had stayed well on top. Instead, you scored us on the basis of how many sheets of information were on our website.
Dr. Stephenson replies: Thank you for your comments. Our team at SC Labs is deeply concerned about accuracy and we appreciate any comments our vendors might have that can help us improve our processes. Literally hundreds of products pass through our lab each year and we handle them all using the same process to ensure fairness and accuracy. Your product was no exception.
As to the issue of the preconfigured appliance, of course you are correct in that CounterSnipe does ship such a device. However, it was made very clear to us, that this is not the preferred delivery footprint. Since you did not have the product actually available for shipment, we opted to install your software on our own computer. We believed that shipping an appliance was by special arrangement only, and your web site is ambiguous on the subject. The availability or lack of an appliance did not affect our ratings of your product. What impacted ratings was the difficulty we experienced implementing the product as shipped to us.
Your characterization of the issue of the network interface card and the availability of a computer in the lab simply is incorrect. We did, in fact, have a computer on which we loaded the software. However, your product requires three network interface cards to install. If it does not have three, and if the three are not precisely what the program requires by manufacturer, it will not install and it does not offer any reconfiguration options to accommodate a different card. We had several compatible add-in cards that usually work, but in this case they did not. To correct the erroneous notion that we do not have budget for a $39 NIC, as we told you repeatedly, it is our policy that the vendor must provide everything necessary to review the product.
Finally, the issue of technical support. Support does not consist of simply what we, as reviewers, get in special circumstances. We are interested in what the customer will get if the customer is not a high-profile reviewer. In that regard, we stand by our rating.
I see no reason to alter any of our ratings of your product. Over the course of months, Illena Armstrong and I have attempted to clarify our position, but you have persisted in clinging to factually incorrect notions.
Dr. Peter Stephenson,
CISSP, CISM, FICAF
The opinions expressed in these letters are not necessarily those of SC Magazine. A longer version of this exchange is available on www.scmagazineus.com.