When we get out and meet the security industry, there are two things we always hear.
One is that the vendor we are chatting to has a uniquely cunning and potent approach to knocking back the nasties that patrol the Net.
That uniquely cunning and potent approach, it is outlined in point number two, means that they, and only they, can repel the nasties with the cast-iron certainty that you, dear readers, require if you are to sleep sound at night and avoid spending weekends in locales recently frequented by former HIH board members.
We have long found it hard to reconcile these two statements, if only because it has been a long time since we heard about a security vendor messing up and actually letting the nasties into their customers' networks.
In fact we cannot recall a single such incident ever having taken place and suspect we have not heard about it for the same reasons we have not heard about any bankruptcies among security vendors either.
When we state this logic to the security industry, they generally scowl and explain a little bit more about their uniquely potent approach, at which point we must admit our eyelids start to droop as they get into the details.
Which tells you a little about your editor's technical abilities, but also a little about the numerous, equally efficient ways in which it is possible to part a cat from its skin.
So imagine our surprise and relief when we met Larry Bridwell, Vice President of Global Security Strategies for security vendor AVG.
Bridwell told us what he calls "the security industry's dirty little secret," which is that "we [the security industry] are all pretty good."
So good, in fact, that they all get it right and stop the nasties. They even help each other to do so, as Bridwell says "my researchers are talking to our competitors' researchers and they fix the problems."
"Then our marketing and PR people fight in public."
That's lovely candour and we sincerely hope we hear more of it.
But if it is right, where does it leave you when you are looking for cunning and potent security software? If it's all as good as the other stuff and the whole industry helps itself to nail the nasties, where's the differentiation? How do you decide what to buy?
Drop us a line and let us know how you respond to the security industry's claims. We'd love to know how you feel about the industry's wares and how they communicate their features to you.
We'll publish a selection of responses in a few days.
Editor, TechTarget ANZ