Cirond is joining a flow of companies moving from wireless network management to wireless security, driven by a belief that wireless security products are easier to sell - and perhaps to deliver.
Cirond is making the most complete shift, saying it "will no longer actively sell" the WinC Manager product which chief executive Nicholas Miller claimed to Techworld in April could do away with the need for wireless switches by managing access points directly. In August, WinC Manager will be replaced by new wireless security products called AirPatrol Enterprise and AirSafe.
Other companies shifting emphasis include BlueSocket, and AirMagnet which both feature in a recent burst of wireless security launches. BlueSocket has launched an RF monitoring and security product this week, combining a server and sensors. However, BlueSocket is a more established company, and its emphasis has always been on security, even with its WG-1200 (reviewed here), which does an equivalent job to wireless appliances.
Why the move? "The security problem created by the existence of any network-connected wireless device in a corporation is a much more pressing issue than wireless network management," said Geof Wheelwright, corporate communications manager at Cirond.
The company may also be responding to more practical difficulties. Techworld has been unable to make WinC Manager work as described, due to poor access point support, despite trying the product with access points that included Proxim's Orinoco AP2000 and Cisco's AiroNet 1100. As WinC Manager is mostly marketed in the US, this may be due to regional variations in the access points available to us in the UK.
Cirond CEO Miller told Wi-Fi Planet that there is "very little difference" between the existing WinC product and the new one. Wheelwright confirmed: "We have leveraged all of the technology we developed in the creation of WinC Manager to develop several new products."
Cirond AirSafe is client software that the company promises will automatically disable the wireless ability of laptops as soon as they are connected to wired networks to prevent inadvertent leaks through Wi-Fi connections left open. AirPatrol Enterprise detects and locates unauthorised access points much like WinC Manager is intended to do. The site licence for AirSafe starts at $1,000, while AirPatrol Enterprise starts at $6,995.
Analysts aren't wholly convinced by the move from management to security (which we liken round here to salesmen selling double glazing as burglary protection instead of as thermal insulation). "Companies that think security is a separate, large market are going to find it increasingly difficult to make money," IDC analyst Stephen Elliot told Wi-Fi Planet. "It will be a homogenized market, with both security and management being equally important."