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Com-Guard is taking PC
protection beyond firewalls, anti-virus scanners and anti-spy programs by blocking access
to anyone who doesnt have the proper passwords or encryption keys to access your
2075 Corte del Nogal # R
Carlsbad, CA 92009
President and COO
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
March 24, 2005
Joe Sigismonti serves as President and Chief Operating Officer for the Company. He
has been actively involved in the development, marketing, and sales of computer systems
and related products for over 30 years. As an electronics engineer, sales representative,
line manager, and corporate executive, he has a proven track record in such well-known
companies as McDonnell Douglas, Hewlett Packard, Scientific Atlanta, and Perkin Elmer. Mr.
Sigismonti has developed and directed large, high technology marketing and sales forces
worldwide. He has held positions as Vice President of sales and marketing; Vice President
of worldwide sales; and Executive Vice President of operations in companies serving
various high-technology markets. Mr. Sigismonti received his Bachelor of Science degree in
electrical engineering from Pennsylvania State University.
Com-Guard, Inc. develops and markets a line of software and hardware products for the
computer industry that provide enhanced system security for both individual users and
system administrators. The Companys focus is on detection, protection and
notification of various security and privacy threats. The Company provides a group of
products that provides PC users with an extensive set of security measures that address
Internet and local security, file locking, encryption security (including e-mail), event
monitoring, web site and email content filtering, and internal facility security.
The Company's patented product, Com-Guard ProTM, utilizing the Company's Sensor
CardTM, includes the Com-Guards unique software technology that enables
users to protect and limit access to sensitive data while providing a physical security
system to guard against tampering, theft of the computer or unexpected intrusions into the
environment. The Com-Guard ProTM system provides environmental security by
supporting internal and external sensors. Software only adaptations of the product
are sold separately under the trade names Com-GuardTM and ComputerSafeTM.
In each product, specific types of security provisions can be selected for
monitoring using a simple menu approach. Violations are immediately communicated to
predetermined people or locations via a page, phone or email transmission. These products
are sold through Retail and OEM channels and can be sold on a licensed basis to interested
parties. Additionally, the Company is developing and introducing a content
filtering/application control product, SafePC, that blocks pornographic images and text
from being displayed from web sites and email attachments in real-time and provides for
the administrative control of the desktop and executable programs.
Sigismonti, will you give us a little background of Com-Guard and why you have been
attracted to the company?
Mr. Sigismonti: Com-Guard is a company that is in the
computer security business, aimed at the PC marketplace. We have focused our attention on
the data on the computers storage media as being the most precious thing there is in
regard to computer security. Notably, the Federal Trade Commission reports that the
largest number of complaints it is receiving involves Identity Theft. There is a lot of
computer theft going around and especially with exposure to the Internet, and data is the
most important thing you can protect on your computer. Computers and other hardware can be
replaced but the data might not. This attracted me to Com-Guard some years ago; I
had a long association with Dr. Edward W. Savarese, the CEO. We worked together at Hewlett
Packard (NYSE: HPQ) and another company he founded, Personal Computer Products, Inc., in
the early 80s. When he approached me about launching this company, I was very
excited about it because it was a field that I thought was going to be a very explosive
one to be in.
does Com-Guard protect data differently than firewalls and anti-virus programs?
Mr. Sigismonti: Firewalls, anti-virus and anti-spy
programs protect to a certain degree and do a good job on known threats. However, new
techniques that hackers develop daily are constantly being introduced. New viruses, new
penetration methods, and new spy-ware can still be installed on a system without the users
knowledge and vital data can be extracted from the disc drive. What we have focused on is
protecting data at the disc level, and we do that by locking up the files, by hiding them,
and then at the ultimate level of protection, by encrypting them, so even if they were
stolen or the computer itself was stolen, the data would still be safeguarded from any
access. We look at it from a data standpoint and we protect it from the disc level up. Our
software detects attempted intrusions from the Internet or from a local person walking up
to the keyboard and trying to open a protected file or to load the file onto a floppy
disk-drive and walking away with it. We also log the event and send notifications of the
activity to the legal owner. If a camera in installed on the system, the
ComputerSafe program can even send a video clip of a physical intrusion.
hackers are always developing new ways, how are you so sure you can protect against
something, which has not been developed?
Mr. Sigismonti: The technology itself is
straightforward. You write data to a disk drive and you have to go through a file system
to get to that data on the disk drive. Our file protection system changes the method of
access to certain files you designate as confidential files. The only way that you can get
to those files is by going through the Com-Guard system and having the proper passwords or
encryption keys to access the data. It is independent of where the access request comes
from because we are sitting at the last level of protection right before the data on the
disk. If the password is not correct, we will not allow access.
would suspect that most people have no clue that they need this protection!
Mr. Sigismonti: That is possibly true. However, the
understanding is growing that there is a dark side to using the Internet or to having
confidential files on your disk and I believe more and more people are recognizing this.
Perhaps they still are not completely aware of what these technologies do for or to them.
The Identity Theft issue is serious and much of that may come from people not realizing
that their disk drive and the data on it is vulnerable to attacks. The whole concept
of computer crime and data theft has been elevated in the last five years or so as
evidenced by some governmental regulations. One such regulation is the Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 that establish standards to protect
the privacy of personal health information. Part of that mandate addresses how
private electronic data is transmitted, stored, retrieved and protected to avoid
unauthorized access. We believe we can serve this and several other markets with of
Another more subtle thing that happens is that when
people are up-graded from a small disk to a larger disk, they do not take the proper
precautions about the disk that they are getting rid of. A large number of times, the data
on that disk can be read by anybody and there is data there that could be very damaging
should it be misused. We recommend that if people have Com-Guard they take the disk that
they get rid of and encrypt all the files before they get rid of the disk. That way, if
somebody buys that disk at a swap meet or something; they cannot read those files.
Just deleting files does not provide sufficient protection.
you making revenue for the company by selling the software package outright?Mr. Sigismonti: We have a software package as I have
described, that does the data protection. We also have a patented hardware device that
plugs into a computer, and it is like a car alarm for your computer. It actually works
with a remote control unit; it has a vibration sensor and some other external sensors that
you can add to the system to actually protect an office for instance. The vibration sensor
in the computer will detect any motion, so if someone attempts to move the computer to
steal it or something, it sounds off with an alarm. We have both hardware and software
protection devices and the software can stand alone, or go with the hardware.
there much competition in this segment of the industry?
Mr. Sigismonti: Actually, there is not a lot of direct
competition doing what we do on the data side. There are people that do encryption and
hide files and so on. We have a completely integrated package to not only protect the
data, but also to protect the computer. Our software will detect intrusion attempts, block
access to protect files and dispatch notifications to the user by phone or email. We have
a number of different levels of protection that we can provide. As I mentioned, we even
support video capture of an intruder if the PC is configured with a camera. Most of
the competitors in the field of computer security are found at the firewall anti-virus,
anti-spyware, and network security end of the spectrum. Our focus has been at the PC level
where consumers or system administrators in every industry can use our products. We cover
a broad bandwidth of users.
CEOCFOinterviews: How do
you reach potential customers now, and what do you need to do to increase that reach?
Mr. Sigismonti: Right now, we are just launching a new
web-marketing program to revise our website with our latest products. Its not done
yet but is underway. We will then be optimizing that website to bring people to it
with key words and things like that. We are also embarked on a delivery system for our
products to distribution market, where we are providing a trial version of the product
free of charge and including with computers that are being sold. We have a couple of
versions of that product and that program; one is a Manufacturing Affiliate Program.
In a nutshell we work with a PC manufacturer and provide them with flyers or labels
that describe our Trial software product, where to find our web site and we include a
coupon number that grants a discount against the purchase price of the product. With this
program, when the user buys the computer, they will have the option to use the software
and try it out. If they want to buy it, they can go to our website and buy the final
product with the discount and install it on the machine. We can track that order back to
the manufacturer or distributor via the coupon number and compensate them for the order.
That program is just getting underway today. Additionally, we currently have orders
for computers on which these trial packages will preloaded when the computer ships thereby
cutting out one step for the user.
tell us about your agreement with Wintergreen Systems.
Mr. Sigismonti: We have announced three or more
orders with Wintergreen Systems. One was for 14 thousand AMD based computers, that we have
started delivering. Another order is for 15 thousand Intel Pentium based units. The
third is for 14 thousand Barebone systems. The MAP program is precisely the program that
we are trying to operate through Wintergreen.
CEOCFOinterviews: How do
you educate the public and the producers of computers and companies like Wintergreen about
your system and the need for it?
Mr. Sigismonti: The challenge for us now from the
standpoint of a marketing program is that we need to get a higher level of awareness of
our products and that we can delivery a high level of security to users. To do this
we will be exhibiting at trade shows to attract strategic partners, distributors and
end-user groups. Our SecurePCTM systems with Com-Guard ProTM
software and patented Sensor-Cards are being manufactured by Wintergreen Systems and are
being distributed through other large companies; TigerDirect.com is one of the companies
that sell the product. It is a remarkable value for security conscience buyers.
We intend to continue to provide value-added security to PCs right off the
production line. Hopefully, word of mouth advertising will play a roll. Also an
on-line sales effort will attempt to direct people to our website and will play a big
factor in our e-commerce sales. Then, of course, we also want magazines to review our
products and to write articles about them to increase awareness. We are going to have to
address all of these issues rapidly with the right people and the media.
CEOCFOinterviews: Why is
it the time for Com-Guard top start addressing these issues aggressively now?Mr. Sigismonti: We spent the last four years in developing
the products. The latest versions of the products are very sound, and feature rich. There
is a growing awareness of some of the security issues and the user market is starting to
become more aware of computer crime. In the past I think we had a product that was
before its time. We were constantly trying to raise the level of awareness and now, with
the fanfare of what is happening with the Internet, data security and Identity Theft, I
think the time is right for our products. It is all coming together.
of your product is to protect children and multiple computer users in the home and
business; will you tell us more about these features?
Mr. Sigismonti: That is another product. The product I
was talking about we call, ComputerSafe. That product is the data protection, computer
protection product. The other product we have and are introducing is called SafePC, which
enables parental guidance in the home and administrative control in small and medium
business. It allows an administrator or a parent to control the access of programs on the
computers so they can only be run during certain hours. An example of that would be the
messenger service. You can make it so that a child is not allowed to use Instant Messenger
in the middle of the night. It can be locked out for the hours that you specify; that is
just one example. There are other examples with any program that you want to have control
of. Likewise, in business if an administrator did not want people to run certain programs
at certain times; they could control that. The other portion of that product involves
content filtering. It is a unique capability that uses sophisticated algorithms to analyze
images on the fly in real-time regardless whether they are on a web site or in an email
attachment. It determines whether the content, images and text, is pornographic or
objectionable. If it is, it will block the images or text from appearing. This is a very
important parental guidance and supervisory package because you dont always know
what is going to pop up on the screen, especially when someone is surfing the web and you
dont know what is really on the websites being visited; the viewer may be exposed. A
staggering statistic is that over 12% of all websites are considered pornographic - thats
4.2 million sites! Another is that the average age of the first Internet exposure to
pornography is 11 years old. And in corporate settings it is reported that 27% of
Fortune 500 companies have been subject to sexual harassment lawsuits related to
inappropriate email or Internet use. The problem is hard to keep up with since new
sites are launched every day. We do the filtering in real-time and the software is
very effectively in blocking pornographic images or objectionable words so that even the
newest sites can be blocked.
you tell us about the financial position of Com-Guard?
Mr. Sigismonti: We could always use more money; we are
a small company. We are looking to finance the inventory for the computers, for which we
have POs. We are in the middle of supplying the first set of computers on the first
order. We are preparing to start filling the order for the second 15,000 units.
Financing is an issue, but we have some financing people that we are working with
but right now. I am not at liberty to say exactly what we are doing in that
area but we are actively pursuing that aspect of our business and it is very important to
products offer protection at an affordable cost. Is the relatively low cost part of
your marketing strategy?
Mr. Sigismonti: People who purchase most software
products of this nature, whether they are a firewall or anti-virus programs, typically
consider them as having approximately the same value when they are looked at in a retail
marketplace. You cant be too far out of line with your prices. We attempt to price
our products so that they will be readily available and represent an attractive offering,
so someone would feel that it is very affordable and try it. The pricing is undervalued
from the standpoint of what the price is vs. the performance and benefits provided. I
think we need to go forward and introduce our products at a very attractive price.
should potential investors be interested in Com-Guard and why is right now the right time?
Mr. Sigismonti: I think we have many good ideas. I
think we have a good opportunity to make a contribution to this marketplace. We are
experienced; both the CEO and myself have been in the industries for over 25 years. Dr.
Edward W. Savarese has been the CEO of another public company for fifteen years. Our
products, I believe, will stand on their own. I think they will add value to any computer
they are installed on and provide a measure of protection that is vital to the end user.
there anything that you would like to say to investors in closing?
Mr. Sigismonti: I believe that we have several opportunities
identified that can be attractive, not only now but also into the future. I think we will
see continued opportunities in our chosen PC security market that, by all accounts, is
growing at a handsome rate. We are beginning to execute our strategy with the
distribution-marketing program as I mentioned. And we are working on improving our
corporate and product awareness in the market.
We welcome anyone to give us a call or ask us
questions about what we are doing. As we are a public company, we cannot divulge any
internal secrets or pending opportunities that have not been announced to the public for
obvious reasons. We would like to work with people in the investment area and we
believe in strategic relationships with other companies on the technology or product side.
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