Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Artistic Interpretation Discouraged

It seems my recent blog post caused quite a stir. This came as something of a surprise to me, given that our Marketing Police spend a lot of time slapping vendors on the wrist over their various marketing exuberances, and our budget for cease and desist letters from our legal counsel is approaching the size of our testing budget!
Artistic Interpretation
So I was somewhat amused to observe the extent to which it was picked up by the press and the Twittersphere, including the ludicrous comments made by a certain vendor to try and explain away its poor performance in the test. It is always disturbing when a vendor chooses a PR offensive over protecting its customers by fixing security failings discovered in our tests.
After all, there is nothing remotely subjective about the SVM – it is based entirely on the test results. If you fail any of the tests it affects your position on the final graphic – simple as that. The only way to improve your position is to a) improve performance of the device, b) reduce the cost of the device (including management, updates, maintenance, etc.) thus improving the TCO, or c) FIX THE SECURITY PROBLEMS IN YOUR DEVICE!
Anyhow, I digress. Back to the original subject of the blog which, as you undoubtedly all know by now, was Check Point's alteration of the SVM graphic to remove some of its competitors. Was this a dumb thing to do? Undoubtedly. Was it against all of the terms and conditions under which we grant marketing rights? Absolutely. Did it affect the integrity of the underlying research? Categorically not.
Just to clarify. Check Point erased a couple of data points on the final graphic, and states this was due to an error made by an outside contractor in the rush to get things ready for RSA. However, it did not alter the data. It did notalter the position of its device, nor of any of the other devices alongside it. It did not (indeed, it cannot) alter theProduct Analysis Report (PAR) nor any of the Comparative Analysis Reports (CARs) that serve up the data that is used to generate the final SVM.
While creativity and artistic interpretation are often very useful in the creation of a masterpiece of fiction, never forget that the original subject always remains unchanged by the ministrations of the artist :o)
Follow me on Twitter (@bwalder) to keep informed as new research is released or to gain insight into any new important works of fiction I may come across!

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