Peter Stephenson, technology editor, SC Magazine
Peter Stephenson, technology editor, SC Magazine
This is a very special issue to me and the team at SC Labs because it is based on a year of seeing the good and the not so good. We actually saw almost no bad products, so it was a pretty good year overall. It is special for you because it helps answer the question, “If we are going to buy security tools in the next 12 to 18 months, what should we be looking at?”

For the first time in SC Magazine's long history, our annual year-end issue looks forward as much as back. On the web site, in our Best of 2007, we look back at those products that received Best Buy, Recommended or SC Magazine Lab Approved recognition over the past 11 months. This Best of 2007 section contains those products that we selected each month as the best of each Group Test. If they were Best Buy or Recommended products, it was because they were the best overall values in their product class. If they were SC Magazine Lab Approved, they were the best of the best and usually were used for some aspect of our ongoing testing processes.

In the following pages, we look ahead at who the industry's innovators are. Think of the look back at this year's best products as a tactical response to requirements and the look forward at SC Magazine Innovators as strategic. We found it interesting that, although this was not one of our objectives and we certainly did not use it as a criterion, many of the products/companies we selected as our innovators also were named as innovators in the Gartner Magic Quadrants. Our criteria were different from Gartner's in that ours have heavier technical components. More on how we determined our winners is in the intro to the Look Ahead section on the next page.

In this end of the year issue, the biggest and probably most important trend we note is convergence. Point solutions to single challenges are converging into combined responses. For example, one major convergence is that of the protective devices and gateways on the perimeter into universal threat management (UTM) tools. This forces a re-evaluation of the concepts of single point of failure and defense-in-depth. Now we need to think about defense-in-depth as reaching from the perimeter to the desktop. Failover needs to be smart in order to provide redundancy and, for true redundancy, there needs to be a full suite of tools to back up the main online support. These twin sets of resources should also provide increased bandwidth when not responding to a failover request.

Whatever the future, I hope you enjoy this issue as much as the team and I enjoyed putting it together, and I want to thank the vendors who are appearing in the Look Ahead section for their responses.

I also want to thank the SC Labs team — Mike, John, Judy and Justin — for a great first year and you, our readers, for your enthusiastic responses. From all of us at SC Labs, have a great holiday season and a prosperous new year!
 — Peter Stephenson