According to some sources, Victorinox, the officials makers of the official Swiss Army knife, has decided to discontinue support for secure data protection on their line of USB-drive embedded SAKs. When introduced, it was a fun (and expensive) USB flashdrive with serious security. In fact, it was like they had combined a regular Swiss Army knife, a flashdrive, and AlertBoot encryption software in one package.
But, Victorinox has apparently found out the hard way that software ought to be left to software makers.
Announcement Posted Only on Facebook
The weird aspect of the story is not the fact that Victorinox is “abandoning” a product line (or, at least, hampering it. On the other hand, would a SAK be a SAK if it didn’t offer the white toothpick thingy? I think not). It’s the fact that the announcement was made in one place, and one place only: their Facebook page.
Swiss army knife maker Victorinox has decided to take the sting out of ditching support for the security software in its range of USB-knife drives by offering customers a full refund.
In a message posted to Facebook but not apparently anywhere else, the company said customers unhappy with the ending of the security features on the company’s combined penknife/flash memory drives could send them back for a refund.
“Ultimately, if you simply aren’t happy with the product based on this development and would like to return it, we understand,” read the announcement. [techworld.com]
That was actually their second post, preceded by another Facebook post announcing the company’s intentions to end support for software:
As an economic company, we are required to provide the necessary expenditures in reasonable proportion to the possible yield. For this reason we have decided to offer only pure knife products with appropriate hardware. [facebook.com, Victorinox Secure]
Because the software certificate for the security side of things expires on September 15 (less than one month away), Victorinox is strongly urging customers to create a back up of the data, stat! After that date, any information in the encrypted zone will not be accessible.
Ironically, Victorinox’s Facebook page cover photo still boasts one of the knife’s security features: biometric fingerprint scanning.
Leave Software to the Software Experts?
It’s anyone’s guess why the company has decided to discontinue supporting the security side of things. I would imagine, however, that it has something to do with the reason why all software companies find dealing with software difficult: updates, upgrades, legacy support, general support, bug fixes, etc.
For a hardware company, it’s probably a little too much to handle. And, even if the work was outsourced to a software company (most probably the case), Victorinox may have been surprised at the amount of ongoing work that was required.
Incidentally, that’s one of AlertBoot’s selling points: clients really don’t need to do any such upkeep. Certainly, they need to engage in regular audits (made easy with our integrated security reporting engine) and the like, but because the AlertBoot data security solution is hosted in the cloud, it means that ensuring server uptime; installing software updates and upgrades; applying patches and fixes; etc. are out of the equation leading to a better overall value and lower total cost of ownership.