SmartFlow Compliance Solutions keeps its roster of corporate clients close to the chest. Ted Miracco, CEO of SmartFlow, has a good reason for that: "Cybersecurity is a very sensitive area, and we're dealing with software that can cost thousands of dollars a seat." The moment a hacking group gets word that a company is using a particular kind of encryption, he says, is the moment they start exploiting it in every way possible.
SEE: Information security policy (Tech Pro Research)
SmartFlow does business with commercial and industrial companies that manufacture professional software. Clients come from industries like EDA, CAD/CAM, scientific research, and even CGI modeling for movies and games. If you've ever spent time in one of those kinds of businesses you know how expensive software licensing is.
"There's a major problem in the EDA industry, for example, when hackers gain access to expensive software." Miracco says those hackers "aren't just depriving a business of revenue—they're also gaining an unfair advantage in the industry."
He saw it first hand at his old company, AWR. Software theft led to overseas companies being able to not only design the same quality of products, but also for much cheaper. AWR had its own compliance department, and that's where SmartFlow was born.
"There are a lot of smaller businesses out there who can't afford to have their own in-house compliance divisions, and that's what SmartFlow is for."
The company offers two different packages: SmartFlow Professional and SmartFlow Enterprise. While Enterprise offers a few more features it's not designed for small organizations. While it may still suit your needs it won't be very economical. For smaller organizations SmartFlow Professional is the best choice.
SmartFlow Professional: streamlining compliance
The smaller of the two packages, SmartFlow Professional is for businesses producing high-cost software with a smaller team or less revenue. It relaunched last week after a large-scale overhaul that aimed to streamline performance, make navigation easier, redo the location mapping feature, and improve the look of the dashboard.
When a client purchases a SmartFlow license they're given access to an SDK that compiles the SmartFlow libraries right into their software. Once there it keeps a digital eye open for binary tampering, false software keys, and even geographical licensing restrictions.
SEE: 11+ security questions to consider during an IT risk assessment (TechRepublic)
When SmartFlow detects a problem it notifies clients through a cloud-based interface hosted by AWS. It's also fed into SmartFlow's Finance Module, which completely automates the recovery process.
The SmartFlow Finance Module is equipped with templates in a variety of languages, allowing companies to generate and email cease and desist letters to organizations all around the world. Each template includes escalation threats that mention the appropriate local authorities, and SmartFlow reports considerable success with that particular model.
"When SmartFlow began we weren't just trying to recover revenue," said Miracco. "We wanted to protect businesses from unfair competition."
In an age when American businesses have a harder and harder time competing with overseas companies, the last thing they need to deal with is theft and undercutting. "Piracy is a global problem that's having a serious effect in a number of industries," Miracco said.
Protecting your bottom line
If your company is facing loss due to software piracy SmartFlow Professional may be worth checking out. It doesn't come cheap, though: a yearly subscription to the service starts at $12,500.
SmartFlow isn't designed to stop piracy of a game or mobile app: it's geared toward top tier enterprise and industrial software. With licensing prices potentially in the thousands per seat and the potential of recovering lost revenue that price tag doesn't seem too high.
You can find out more about SmartFlow Professional and Smartflow Compliance Solution's other products on its website.
- 5 mandatory IT skills for successful compliance officers (TechRepublic)
- Romania's software boom: Why double-digit growth looks locked in (ZDNet)
- Report: 80% of businesses can't properly manage external cyber attacks (TechRepublic)
- Half of all software in Brazil is pirated (ZDNet)
- Why in Industry 4.0 manufacturing needs to be better prepared for cyber attacks (IoT Tech News)
Brandon Vigliarolo has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.