Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Candy Security Opens It's Virtual Doors

Back in 1997 or so I started building FreeBSD firewalls and proxy servers for friends and business partners. To my surprise, many of those systems ran until their hardware fell apart(literally). As those systems died nearly all of them were replaced with off-the-shelf commercial products. I was no longer in the business of building firewalls and I could not easily compete with the cost advantages of the commercial options. For a small business, your average wireless router does quite well for NAT and DHCP. At the time, the cost of $100 or so was quite reasonable. For the larger businesses - there are larger needs that include SPAM filtering, Antivirus, Intrusion Detection/Prevention, and more. The answer for them would be a Cisco device or a competitive product (such as a SonicWALL).

After kicking around a SonicWALL for a few months for my home business, I just had the feeling that I could do better with hardware that I had laying around. I was looking to replace not only the NAT functionality of the hardware, but the other services as well. It didn't take me long to discover IPCop. IPCop is an open source firewall solution with a Linux core. It's easily installed, and even easier to configure through web based management. For the hardcore enthusiast there is a growing collection of compiled add-ons for the product which include ClamAV (Gateway Antivirus), Squid (for proxying), Squidguard (for content filtering), and even Snort (for Intrusion Protection). Mix all those together, and you have yourself a very affordable unified threat management system (a term I do not throw around loosely).

It wasn't long before I started deploying my IPCop firewalls to friends, family, and small business owners (many out of charity). The hardware, while never fantastic, has always been adequate for their use and has all been purely recycled components. In some cases, I have taken a companies retired desktop PC's and turned them into managed network security solutions for them. Aside from saving a ton of money on the cost of hardware and security services, we have kept the environment from having to digest a pile of toxic components.

There was only one thing missing. I had never officially given the company a title. While working on the website, that seemed necessary. While some of you may still refer to it as "Steve's firewall business", we will be putting something more pleasing on our business cards. The official title, as the subject implies, is Candy Security. I have been tossing the name around for nearly a year and I even registered the domain name some time ago in preparation. I have most recently built a website, and today it went live!

You will have to excuse the advertisements glued to the top. I opted to get "free hosting" until I had something to put up. Now that it's up, I have to have my account converted from a free account to a paid hosting account. The last time I did this with GoDaddy, it required deleting and re-creating my account.

Hope you all like the new site. For present customers (or other interests) I created an area that you can use to contact me from the website. Obviously, if you are having problems and need immediate assistance you can still call us.

-Steve Ballantyne