The open-source intrusion-detection market is heating up. SourceFire Inc., an intrusion-detection system vendor that launched only last month based on the popular Snort freeware IDS, Wednesday unveiled the OpenSnort Management Console, an appliance that provides sensor management and intrusion-detection analysis.
While Snort has proved popular, with the company claiming more than 500,000 downloads of the open-source platform, lack of commercial support hindered its acceptance in larger companies. Now, with $2 million in angel investment capital in hand, Martin Roesch, SourceFire's founder, president, and CEO, is hoping for a profitable future.
"Now that there is commercial support and a management console, all of a sudden SourceFire has the potential to become a strong player in the IDS market," says Pete Lindstrom, director of security strategies for Hurwitz Group. But it won't be easy for the upstart, he adds. "They're like Barry Bonds in Little League. Lots of potential. Now it comes down to execution."
Lindstrom notes that in 1998, when Roesch developed Snort, no one expected customer support. Lindstrom also notes that SourceFire has yet to reveal a management team. "They haven't built their business infrastructure," he says. "They have to do that."
Still, Snort has a reputation for being fast and flexible. And intrusion signatures for Snort often appear before commercial intrusion-detection vendors publish their signatures.
With the OpenSnort Management Console, administrators can manage groups of intrusion sensors for a central network. The company says the product enables correlation and data analysis in near real time, as well as forensic data analysis.
The OpenSnort Management Console is priced at $20,000, with an additional $9,995 for each OpenSnort Sensor. The IDS market reached $234 million in 2000, according to RBC Capital Markets, and International Data Corp. predicts that it will grow 26% annually for the next four years. Dominant commercial players include Internet Security Systems, Symantec (based on its acquisition of Axent in late 2000) Entercept, Network Associates, and Tripwire.