Truth About Computer Security Hysteria
How did mi2g win a Queen's Award?Rob Rosenberger, Vmyths co-founder
Monday, 21 April 2003
THE CORDIAL FEARMONGERS at mi2g will receive a technology award from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. This fact disturbs me.
You won't find details for "Bespoke Security Architecture" on mi2g's website. They won't even let you download a brochure!
Why does secrecy surround the Queen's choice for enterprise innovation?
In technical terms, mi2g issued an "embargoed" press release four days ahead of today's public announcement. In layman's terms, mi2g couldn't keep its mouth shut but they told reporters to keep their own mouths shut. One of my sources forwarded the press release a few hours after it came out.
[Editor's note: a company may post-date a press release for any number of reasons. It is a well-established norm. Mr. Rosenberger's personal opinion does not reflect Vmyths policy. We honored mi2g's embargo.]
"The Queen's Award for Enterprise in the Innovation Category has this year been conferred on mi2g, the world leader in digital risk, for the development of Bespoke Security Architecture™," the press release trumpets. CEO D.K. Matai "will be presented with the award."
Great: now mi2g calls itself "the world leader in digital risk." Puh-leeeze.
I've slammed the firm and its CEO since 1999 for its/his blatant marketing hype. I complained three years ago how "mi2g can get away with all sorts of wild claims because they don't strive for accuracy." Richard Forno (InfoWarrior.org), The Register, and NTKnow likewise slam mi2g and its CEO for its/his blatant marketing hype.
I cultivated a number of mi2g informants over the years who either (a) worked in the same office complex or (b) attended one of mi2g's regular marketing seminars. For the record: many of my informants approach me — not the other way around.
Where do my informants come from? Believe it or not, they often start out as prospective mi2g clients, but they grow exasperated with the firm and its chest-thumping CEO!
A prospective client who attends an mi2g marketing seminar may not get enough straight answers from CEO Matai. The prospective client may go to mi2g's website ... where he could easily mistake the firm's case studies for boilerplates. Every single one of the case studies at mi2g.com describes the case client as "a large multi-billion Dollar financial services group headquartered in North America."
Heck, every single one of the case studies capitalizes the D in "Dollar"! Like I said: you could easily mistake mi2g's case studies for boilerplates.
The case studies reek of overly generalized text. "Each subsidiary company needed to cut operational costs by automating their processes," one boring page begins. "mi2g were asked to manage this major initiative working closely with the individual companies, to Programme Manage the design, build, implementation and change management phases of the various projects including the MetaPortal, Risk Vault, Broker Portal, Intranet and Customer Relationship Management..."
STAY AWAKE, PLEASE. Another case study drones on by saying "mi2g defined the strategy, planned the project, subcontracted the development work, managed client and supplier relationships, and rolled out real solutions."
I complained three years ago how "mi2g can get away with all sorts of wild claims because they don't strive for accuracy."Hmph. It sounds like the kind of text you'd find in the sixth panel on page 11 of Dilbert's "Casual Day Has Gone Too Far." A prospective client might visit mi2g's brochures page to learn more about Bespoke Security Architecture™. Guess what? It's the only brochure you can't download! A placemarker file instructs you to "fill out the contact form to receive the bespoke security architecture [sic] brochure in an electronic format." Secrecy surrounds the Queen's choice for enterprise innovation. This fact disturbs me. A prospective client might ask mi2g to name a client who will vouch for the award-winning Bespoke Security Architecture™. Matai himself will dodge the question when challenged. One of my sources recently quoted him as saying "that information [is] confidential." Mind you, mi2g's website lists more than a dozen "key clients" including Citibank, Wal-Mart, and Bank of America. Why can't any of them vouch for Matai's secret award-winning innovation? A prospective client will soon realize he can't do casual research on mi2g or Bespoke Security Architecture™. More than a year ago I dismissed their website as "snippets of banal babble, nothing more. Shouldn't your site put your best foot forward?" Nothing's changed in that year. The prospective client doesn't get straight answers from Matai and he finds nothing of substance on mi2g's website. So he types