Monday, January 29, 2007

How Agnitum Will Protect You in 2007

After we announced Outpost Security Suite Pro in January’s Agnitum Directions, we received a huge number of comments and questions from our users.

In today’s blog post, I am going to cover the most common questions we’ve received, along with our vision for how Agnitum will be helping you protect your computers in 2007 and beyond.

But let me start with users and their needs, not products and their features.

Broadly speaking, there are two types of user when it comes to Internet Security:

  • People looking for an all-in-one solution
  • People looking for individual best-of-breed solutions

While both types of user are obviously looking for robust security, the former clearly places a greater emphasis on convenience and ease of use. The latter is probably more technically inclined and prefers to implement ‘best-of-breed’ solutions in each category (firewall, antivirus, antispyware, antispam, etc) in order to maximize their online protection.

It is worth noting that in each group there are users with both basic and advanced levels of computer knowledge and security awareness. It is just that one group is looking for a fast and convenient solution, while the other group is ready to sacrifice their time to find and test different solutions and figure out how to get all the components to work together.

It’s clear that market trends are tending towards the provision of all-in-one solutions, so we ambitiously took on the goal of developing a product that combines individual best-of-breed products into a time-saving suite.

Outpost Security Suite Pro
Outpost Security Suite Pro product will provide firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware (in one anti-malware module), proactive protection, and a spam filter. Many fans of Outpost Firewall Pro expressed concern that Agnitum was simply jumping on the bandwagon, and that any suite would be just another “me too” product. The major question was “Why did you decide to create your own security suite?”

Three reasons come to mind:

Compatibility issues
Although the concept of using different best-of-breed products for optimal security is reasonable, it has not proved successful in the face of constantly developing new threats. Historically, most security software vendors (including Agnitum) improved their protection by adding new security features.

This approach frequently resulted in incompatibility between firewalls, antivirus and antispyware software once these products begun to perform the same security measures. This means that the same system events are being monitored by the firewall, the proactive protection, the antivirus and antispyware, leading to system slowdowns and memory overloads due to several security applications running rather than just one. And it’s no surprise that vendors failed to provide 100% compatibility between their products.

As a result, it is becoming more and more difficult to find a combination of best-of-breed products that will play happily together without turning off some important security features in each program.

With the continuing appearance of new threats and the consequent appearance of new products to defeat those threats, it’s clear that incompatibility issues will continue to arise, making it less and less likely that high levels of security can be provided by the use of multiple products from multiple vendors.

Time is money
Best-of-breed security can be an expensive exercise when you’re buying standalone solutions from different vendors, but it can be justified if better security results. However, this argument ignores the cost of the extra time you spend. Time to install, learn how to use, configure, update, and schedule.

Even when you’ve found the best applications for your needs in each category, chances are they won’t work together well without some tweaking, so you’ll have to spend more time figuring out how to solve incompatibility issues. And of course, when the next update for any one of the programs appears, new incompatibilities are likely to arise.

Incompatible approaches to security
As we’ve already seen, even the best combination of standalone security solutions is becoming increasingly inconvenient and inflexible in the face of rapidly changing threats.

So to keep our users protected, we’ve been gradually incorporating additional functionality into our core Outpost Firewall Pro product, adding anti-spyware to Outpost 3.0 to detect and remove spyware, Trojans and keyloggers and anti-leak capabilities to Outpost 4.0 to proactively block malware from trying to send data out from users’ computers to third parties.

And that is why we are now planning to provide all-in-one protection for our users.

But Outpost Security Suite Pro will not be another “me too” product. It’s based on best-in-breed firewall and proactive security engines, which means that, unlike existing suites, Outpost Pro is focused on preventing the problem in the first place and only after that to use reactive security measures like signature-based antivirus and antispyware.

Release Schedule
We are planning to release two versions of Outpost Security Suite Pro. The first version is intended for Windows XP systems and is already in beta testing; as soon as possible after that, we plan to ship a Vista-compatible product.

Best-of-breed personal firewall
Some Outpost Firewall Pro users have expressed their concern that Agnitum might discontinue the standalone firewall product. Let me reassure you that Outpost Firewall Pro will continue to be available as a standalone product for as long as we have customers wanting to buy it and users wanting to stick with it. Our customers’ wishes are paramount.

Remember, we are already investing a lot of resources in developing a Vista-compatible version of the standalone firewall, so that users migrating to the new operating system will have adequate firewall protection. We are also creating a new interface to meet the latest usability standards. And there’s a long wishlist of features in our development department, just waiting for our engineers to implement them.

So we are always here for those users looking for the best firewall, regardless of whose anti-virus or anti-spyware they prefer to use.

Easy to use spam filter
Before closing, I should also mention our other new product – Agnitum Spam Terrier. We are very excited about this effective little spam filter – as are those people who’ve already started to use it, especially as it’s free, so everyone will be able to benefit from it.

The first version works as a plug-in for Outlook and Outlook Express email clients, and in the future we will likely add support for other email software.

Taking care of your security in 2007
It’s always been our goal to provide our users with the most technically robust security protection without sacrificing ease of use, and our 2007 plans follow this goal perfectly:

  • Providing all-in-one security with new Outpost Security Suite Pro;
  • Providing best-of-breed standalone protection with Outpost Pro Firewall;
  • Providing accessible spam defenses with Spam Terrier Free

As always, we welcome your suggestions, comments, and criticism – so please post your thoughts on our 2007 plans here!


Mikhail Penkovsky
Global Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Agnitum Ltd.

17 comments:

John said...

What would be useful right now is a list of those anti virus and anti spyware products that work with Outpost.
You can find this out by trial and error. But the error part of the process can introduce all sorts of instability.
I'm running W2000 prop right now with outpost and AVG free version. Seems all OK.

Anonymous said...

It's all market bullshit! I've bought v4.0 "with x64 bit support" and discovered it doesn't work on Windows XP 64bit edition at all... just hangs while booting. It was THREE months ago. And technical support still answers that they are investigating the problem.

Agnitum BLOG said...

We are sorry that you encountered that type of problem. We may assume that this problem is unique or due to your OS specifics. Firewalls are very OS-sensitive and we can not predict all incompatibility issues - that is why Agnitum provides an opportunity of using full-fledged trial versions in the first place. We still recommend you to contact our Support service for further clarifications:
http://www.agnitum.com/support/contact.php .

Leigh said...

Further to Johns comment, after ditching a bloated suite, I've used nod23 in conjunction with outpost for 4 years now, & had no issues whatsoever.

Which brings me to the point of my post, I'm extremely reluctant to switch from using my trusted, time tested, best of breed anti virus, though the thought of a good suite does appeal to me, particularly from agnitum.

Whilst I can understand possible commercial in confidence reason for not revealing who the "leading malware expert" the "award-winning VB100 technology" will be licensed from, this will cause extended delay to my upgrading to the suite, if I do at all.

For instance, if it so happened to be nod32, I would upgrade with confidence as soon as my current nod32 subscription expired, no problem.

However, there are few others with which I have such confidence. Not knowing this will necessitate me allowing at least a good couple of years for the suite to prove itself in it's own right.

Not knowing who it is, for all we know it is not actually a true best of breed, but merely the best economic deal agnitum could strike.

Agnitums track record does indicate to me that they would not compromise so, but "if it aint broke don't fix it" is ringing loud in my ear, the upgrade is competing against 4 years of perfect performance.

Cheers, & thanks for the great firewall.

Agnitum BLOG said...

Leigh, thanks for the comment. We refrain from giving any recommendations concerning anti-virus software or disclose what engine we shall rely on in our Suite - until the official release. This is all a question of your personal convenience. If you tend to make lots of settings, manual configuration changes, installations, etc., and keep track of all the processes, your choice is Outpost Firewall + other third-party best-of-breed solutions. If you want to feel comfortable and secure without lots of hassle – your option is Outpost Security Suite Pro, which acts proactively and predominantly makes the anti-virus involvement unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

For those of us who bought a Lifetime license for Outpost Firewall Pro will you offer us a Lifetime license upgrade for the Outpost Pro Security Suite? We hope so.

Anonymous said...

Agnitum,
My family needs new security for our computer. Exactly when are you launching your security suite? If you decide that you are not going to keep just the firewall on the market what will the people with other anti-virus subscriptions do? Also who's anti-virus engines will you use?

Thanks for your answer.

Agnitum BLOG said...

Answering your questions:

1) Well, the problem is that Outpost Firewall Pro and Outpost Security Suite Pro are quite separate products :) However, Outpost Firewall Pro users will get a significant discount in case of migrating to the Suite.

2) The Outpost Security Suite Pro - public beta version - is scheduled for March, we'll make an announcement as soon as it happens. The final release will take a little bit more time, the expectations are: late spring - early summer. As for anti-virus, please see the previous Agnitum blog comment.

Ricardo said...

Hola a todos! Sólo comentar la configuración de seguridad que llevo probando el último mes:

Firewall: Agnitum Outpost v.4 con todos los plugins desactivados menos caché DNS y detección de ataques.

Antivirus: NOD32 con todos los monitores activados.

Antispyware-malware: AVG AntiSpyware con la protección residente activada.

Protección del registro: Ad-Watch (LavaSoft Ad-Ware) activado en modo de información (no automático) y con todas las funciones menos el bloqueador de pop-ups.

Protección IP: PeerGuardian v.2 con listas P2P, ADS, GUBERNAMENTAL, SPYWARE y TROJAN cargadas y protección http (si tienes problemas para acceder a algún contenido web, se lo permites temporalmente marcando "allow http").

Os aseguro que funciona de una manera más que razonable en mi portátil Intel Centrino a 1300Mhz y 1,5Gb de RAM.
No aparecen problemas serios de incompatibilidad que sí que he padecido con otras configuraciones, y he probado casi todo lo "serio" que ofrece el mercado.

CONSEJO: Huid de programas de reciente factura, muy llamativos que prometen protegerte de todo Spyware (hay listas extensas que confirman que son spyware en sí mismos).

No andeis constantemente comprobando vuestro firewall con tests anti-leak y demás, podrían obtener datos de vuestras vulnerabilidades y aprovecharse de ellas posteriormente.

Un afectuoso saludo y MUY BUEN FIN DE SEMANA!!!!

Krapansky said...

It would be great to have Vista compatible version. I couldn't use my paid OF Pro on my new computer a month or so :(

Anonymous said...

I have purchased a Life time license of Outpost during a Christmas offer. I do not want to use an ALL IN ONE product. I would still prefer best of breed. I just want to know if outpost firewall will be getting same amount of preference as far as code development and redesigning goes ?

Agnitum BLOG said...

A short answer to the latest question: yes. Outpost Firewall Pro remains our top priority.

Ricardo said...

Hello to all! To only comment the security configuration that I take proving the last month:

Firewall: Agnitum Outpost v.4 with all plugins deactivated less cache DNS and detection of attacks.

Antivirus: NOD32 with all the activated monitors.

Antispyware-malware: AVG AntiSpyware with the activated resident protection.

Protection of the registry: Ad-Watch (LavaSoft Ad-Ware) activated in way of information (nonautomatic) and with all the functions except the blocking one of pop-ups.

Protection IP: PeerGuardian v.2 with lists P2P, ADS, GOVERNMENTAL, SPYWARE and TROJAN loaded and protection HTTP (if you have problems to accede to some content Web, you allow marking it temporarily “allow HTTP”).

I assure to you that it works of one more a way than reasonable in my portable Intel Centrino to 1300Mhz and 1,5Gb of ram. They do not appear serious problems of mutual incompatibility that yes that I have suffered from other configurations, and I have proven almost all the “serious one” that offers the market.

ADVICE: You flee from programs of recent invoice, very showy, and not knowed makers that promise best market protection of all Spyware (there are extensive lists which they confirm that a lot are spyware in themselves, see:http://www.spywarewarrior.com/rogue_anti-spyware.htm).

Constantly verifying yours firewall with anti-leak tests and others, could collect data of your vulnerabilities and take advantage of them later.(It's a true possibility).

An affectionate greeting and VERY GOOD Week!

Doug said...

I run windows xp home outpost pro family licience (have other xp home machines running it fine) with nod32 av and i get random reboots while using firefox i can be typing away and blam gone.
restart and then its send error report which i always do and get no feed back from.
how do we know that the new suit going to be any better?
The rest of my family have no problems and all run the same security and updated all the time (daily if not every other day

Agnitum BLOG said...

Hello, Doug! It's hard to identify the cause of your problem without more details. We advise you to contact our Support service: http://www.agnitum.com/support/contact.php

Anonymous said...

How can Agnitum protect us in 2007 when they don't work on 2007 operating systems!? Vista has been out for awhile now (even longer with RC/Beta versions), how is it that Outpost STILL doesn't work on it? Other firewalls work. I like Outpost, but this is pathetic that they're still no Vista versions out.

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