UK security company Synartra has launched a system to enforce security policies regardless of where remote users are logging on. SecureWireless is transparent to end users, but changes settings on the PC depending on whether the user is at a hotspot or on the office WLAN.

"We coat the network and let you deploy location dependent security policies," said chief executive Peter McCudden at the UK's Infosecurity show. "Our unique ability is to translate policies into commands for a user agent on the client." The technology is based on VPNs.

Synartra sells to small-to-medium businesses (SMEs), and competes with offerings from Cisco and Checkpoint, said McCudden. "They've put in investment but they can't do roaming and location-specific policy distribution," he asserted.

Synartra's other speciality is SecureCompartments, a system which divides an IT network into separate security zones. "It's like having a ship built from watertight compartments," he explained, "like the Titanic." The Titanic sank, he concedes, but that was because its compartments weren't actually watertight. The doors had to be closed individually by hand, and many had been re-opened by crew-members to make their jobs easier, a problem which which IT security staff are familiar.

Although Infosec was Synartra's launch, the company has existed for a few years under the name TrustWorks, having introduced point to point VPNs, in 1999, according to McCudden. In 2003, it was bought by the rather amorphous-looking UK-based Hamsard Group, relocated and rebranded. TrustWorks was based in Russia, but with headquarters established in Holland to avoid the US technology trade bans of the late 1990s.

The Synartra name actually comes from the Ukrainian founder of the company, computer scientist Alexandar Galitsky, who previously rounded Russian Security company ELVIS-Plus. Although ELVIS is an acronym in Russian (if you know what for, please mail us and explain it), Synartra is not an acronym. The spelling was altered to avoid any legal problems from Frank's influential friends.

After a brief spell as head of Synartra, Galitsky moved on to Hopling. a wireless start-up in Holland.

ELVIS, by the way, is still alive. But you already knew that, didn't you?