DEMO showcases new technologies for government apps

PHOENIX, Ariz.?In a room full of venture capitalists?including representatives from In-Q-Tel, the CIA's investing arm?technology start-ups have unleashed a bevy of new products. And while many will likely never find their way into government agencies (the conference kicked off with a high-tech ice cream machine), several show promise for addressing enterprise challenges.

The DEMO conferences, now in their 16th year, give start-ups an opportunity to debut their products in front of potential investors and the technology press. Companies get six minutes on stage to demonstrate their products' capabilities. The Palm Pilot and TiVo are among the influential technologies to get their starts at DEMO.

PolyVision Corp. of Atlanta launched an electronic version of the large flipcharts used in conference rooms. The Thunder Virtual Flipchart System includes what is essentially a giant touch-screen computer and PolyVision's own collaboration software for marking up images and taking electronic notes and then "peeling" them off the touch screen in order to project them onto a wall or screen via an LCD projector.

After the company's on-stage presentation, PolyVision's executive vice president of global sales Ira Hutchinson said the company was in talks with several government agencies about using the system. The setup that PolyVision demonstrated included several LCD projectors displaying electronic flipchart pages across a long screen. Participants in a meeting can be remote users, and throw their own charts or diagrams directly onto the screen in order to share information.

Hutchinson said that when meeting participants plug into the system to share information, actual data is not transmitted. The Thunder system simply takes the video-out signal from a notebook computer, for instance, and puts it onscreen.

Later today, IronPort Systems Inc. of San Bruno, Calif., will demonstrate its new S-Series of Web security appliances. The company has already been selling e-mail security products to government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration. The e-mail appliances use unique reputation filters to help keep out spam and malicious code while minimizing false positives.

Ambika Gadre, IronPort's senior director of product management, told GCN yesterday that the company heard from enterprise customers that securing H TTP, FTP and other Layer 4 network traffic is the next major IT challenge. Specifically, the rise in spyware presents a growing security risk, Gadre said.

The IronPort S series will come in two models, an S600 for organizations with more than 5,000 users and the S300 for those with fewer. Gadre said the company does not currently offer an integrated appliance that handles e-mail and Web security in one box. But she said IronPort has plans to develop a combine solution to address the needs of small agencies and branch offices that want to minimize the number of appliances they need to buy and manage.

Other highlights from DEMO include PorchLight Security Messaging from Front Porch Inc. of Sonora, Calif. PorchLight works with intrusion detection/prevention devices to monitor traffic and quickly alert end users of security breaches or system infections.

Matt Yerington, Front Porch's director of business development, said the company has traditionally served Internet service providers, but the PorchLight appliance could be deployed on agency intranets to communicate network issues directly to users. For instance, the product can flash a message in real time when someone attempts to access a fraudulent phishing site.

Prior to taking the stage, StrikeForce Technologies Inc. of Edison, N.J., showed GCN its WebSecure identity theft software, which protects end users from keyloggers, malware that can steal IDs and passwords by monitoring what keys the user types. Executive vice president George Waller said the software encrypts every keystroke then re-routes the encrypted strokes directly to the browser, thereby avoiding traditional keylogging attacks. The good news: At least in a demonstration, the process creates no delay during log-ins.

Brad Grimes is chief technology editor of Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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