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The Mountain View, Calif.-based Qualys' servers scan corporate networks for potential security cracks. Qualys then provides a report to customers so that they can repair the flaws. Approximately 90 percent of its 1,400 customers request a scan every two weeks; 60 percent ask for a scan every week.'s strategy reflects a larger trend of expansion for security companies.
"We simulate thousands of hackers," CEO Philippe Courtot told CNET News.com in an interview this week. "You can take a picture of the network from outside, and then send a report."
The idea now is to use the same basic technology to insulate companies from inadvertent disclosures punishable under theor the (HIPAA) Acts. Under these laws, corporations can be held liable for the inadvertent release of private information. The company sketched its plans to move in this direction earlier this year and has been signing up partners to market the new services.
Courtot also said Qualys is considering entering the market for repairing the flaws that its service uncovers, which he termed a natural extension of the company's existing work.
Expansion is one of the dominant themes of the security industry at the moment. Most companies came into the industry concentrating on one or two aspects of security, such as virus protection. The changing nature of threats, however, has promptedand several others to begin to provide a wider variety of ongoing services.
Qualys has already expanded into hardware, selling its scanning server to customers like DuPont and eBay. These companies then install the scanner on their own network so that they can test the vulnerability of their regional offices or suppliers.
The results of these scans are then forwarded to Qualys and are included as part of an overall security report, Courtot said.