Brian Pontarelli is a moneymaker. That’s why he is an outstanding businessman and why he was nominated for the APEX Entrepreneur of the Year award. In a time when many entrepreneurs come up with an idea, secure funding and then build a product hoping to create a market, Brian flipped the script. He built a product the market needs, secured paying customers and built a cash-flow-positive business to lay the foundation for future product development and consistent growth.
A solution to a problem
Brian built the software called CleanSpeak to solve the problem of offensive and unwanted user-generated content on the Internet and then founded his company, Inversoft. This enterprise software is an intelligent filtering and moderation solution used by brands like Disney, Activision and E-Trade to protect their users online from profanity, bullying and other offensive behavior. CleanSpeak is an on-premise solution that works consistently providing the ultimate in security, performance and customizability.
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At Inversoft, we build on-premise, enterprise software. Customers download this software and install it on their own servers. These servers might be in a cloud hosting environment like AWS or in some other datacenter somewhere.
Most of our software contains multiple components that are installed. For example, CleanSpeak has 3 separate installable applications that are shipped as RPMs, Debian packages or ZIP files. Often each of these applications are setup on multiple servers and fronted with load balancers.
We release new versions of our software every 12 to 18 months. New customers always use the latest version of our software, but current customers are never forced to upgrade. Only after 2 or 3 years do we stop supporting older versions. Once a version reaches end-of-life, bug fixes for that version are no longer done and customers on that version must upgrade to a newer version if they run into problems.
This software release model does not lend itself well to continuous deployment or fast iteration and release cycles. In fact, we have found that when we increased the frequency of our releases, customer got frustrated and annoyed, even though they were never required to upgrade.
Keeping this in mind, let's look at how Inversoft develops and ships software.
First, we start with customer or internal requirements. We like to ensure that our features will be used and if we come up with something internally, we always ask multiple customers for input on the feature before it makes it into our product roadmap.
You’ve probably heard by now that there is a serious threat to internet security. The Heartbleed bug is directly associated with the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. The Bug exposes secret keys used to identify service providers and to encrypt traffic, usernames, passwords and other content.
Why is it called Heartbleed?
The bug is found in the OpenSSL’s implementation of the TLS/DTLS (transport layer security protocols) heart beat extension. When exposed, memory content leaks from the server to the client and from the client to the server.
Protect Against Social Hacking
You might have heard about the recent a social hacking incident of an established cloud-based email provider. The hacker contacted a member of the support staff via phone and convinced them that they were the account owner. Once they had convinced this unsuspecting support person, they convinced them to change the email address on their account (which was of course not actually their account).
This is a classic example of a social hack. Many of you might remember the scene from the movie Hackers where Zero Cool convinced the security guard that we was an employee and got him to read him the phone number for the modem. And if you don’t remember it, check it out on YouTube.
So you have some new middleware you’d like to integrate with your software and you’re wondering what hidden costs may reveal themselves during the set up process. Here are four questions you’ll want to consider to avoid unexpected costs.