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Allowing a security application to decide whether a piece of computer code is safe to run on the network is akin to asking the bouncer at hip Hollywood party to decide who should be allowed through the door. It’s just too hard for the enforcer to tell who belongs at the party and who doesn’t. To be effective, the bouncer needs a guest list—and so does the security application, according to Solidcore Systems Inc.

“The core of our solution is the notion of working with good code, while many other systems work with the notion of known bad code or possibly bad code,” said Rix Kramlich, vice president of marketing at Solidcore.

“[With those solutions,] when an unauthorized piece of bad code comes in, you are in an untenable position in trying to identify bad code, because the system will run it if it gets through the access point. By worrying only about good code, you get control over what you need to control,” Kramlich said.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company’s newest solution, S3 SecurityT, which the company announced Monday, protects against code-based security threats by creating a list of “known good code” and then assuring that only authorized code is allowed to run.

“All products address access to the run-time environment in one way or another,” Kramlich said. “There are an infinite number of means of access, and there are products to address each of those means. We control access completely.”

Rather than using rules, signatures or policies to authorize incoming code on the fly, S3 SecurityT determines what code is authorized to run on the system and then puts the system into a “solidified” state, Kramlich said.

“Solidification is an automated process that takes about eight minutes to run through the code base without user intervention,” he said.

In the solidified state, the software simply does not run code that has not been authorized, so that administrators aren’t bothered by numerous incident reports.

“Solidcore is more absolute [than other solutions],” said Thomas Darin, vice president of business solutions at Security Inspection Inc., a consultant/VAR in Detroit, Mich. “Since it will only run code that has been solidified, it can protect you against everything, including the unknown.”

VARs report that the biggest selling point for customers is that the software eliminates the urgency that IT administrators face when a patch is released by a software vendor.

“The biggest interest in Solidcore for our customers is that they don’t have to wait for patches to come out,” said Norm Shockley, CEO at Adeara, a reseller in Sunnyvale, Calif. “It helps them keep their environment secure without having to rush every time there is a patch to implement.”

Because the system is safeguarded already, IT management can choose to schedule and test patches on staging systems before applying them to production systems.

Less frequent and more strategic patching can reduce IT operating costs significantly.

“From a return-on-investment standpoint, now these companies can add servers without increasing the number of people because they don’t have to worry about patching all servers at once. Solidcore gives them a bigger window in which to deal with patches,” Shockley said. “It provides a way for them to implement things in a controlled and timely fashion, and that’s great.”

The solution works on Windows NT 4.0 and more current operating systems (such as Windows, Red Hat, Linux and Solaris).

The S3 Security T system, which is priced on a per-server basis, has a suggested retail price of $2,000 per server, with volume discounts available, the company said.

Last month, the company also launched its new authorized reseller program to help the channel in its efforts to sell the security software.

At launch, the company had more than a dozen long-time security and compliance resellers on board, and new partners are being announced weekly, Williams said.

Shockley agreed, saying, “So far, the reseller program is really, really good.”

“The local field reps are very channel-oriented and are great to work with. Currently, we are working jointly with them on several opportunities and they are also bringing opportunities to us,” he added.

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The program, which is limited to resellers that meet specific criteria, gives participants additional marketing, sales and technical assistance. “The marketing information and sales tools are pretty comprehensive,” Security Inspection’s Darin said. “It is a nice package.”

In addition, Solidcore is providing lead generation, technical support and pre-sales reports. For example, Solidcore has been doing road shows with its resellers in their locations, he added. “Most of our resellers are covering broad segments of the market. We’ve also been doing lots of one-on-one Webinars [Web seminars], to help get information out to their customers,” he said.