Evaluating Security Products With Clinical Trials

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Executive Summary

One of the largest challenges faced by purchasers of security products is evaluating their relative merits. While purchasers can get reliable information on characteristics such as runtime overhead, user interface, and support quality, the actual level of protection provided by different security products is mostly unranked - or, worse yet, ranked using criteria that do generally reflect their performance in practice. Even though researchers have been working on improving testing methodologies, given the complex interactions of users, uses, evolving threats, and different deployment environments, there are fundamental limitations on the ability of lab-based measurements to determine real world performance.

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