Originally conceived in 2003, ExcelSentry has been several
years in development. Geoff shares the following story as an insight
into how the idea for this product arose…
“In early 2003, a business owner commented to me that he
was not able to reliably protect his spreadsheets against employee theft.
These were spreadsheets he considered "best of breed" - and which provided a
significant competitive edge for his company.”
This surprised Geoff, and he was challenged to research for himself exactly
what degree of security was available for Excel spreadsheets.
What he discovered amazed him – that three of the four modes of Excel
‘security’ (workbook, worksheet and macro protection) could easily be cracked
with tools that were readily available over the internet. The fourth mode
(file-based password protection), although stronger, provided little real help
to prevent employee theft, as the password had to be provided in order for
employees to use the spreadsheet.
Furthermore, even if these security modes had been robust, they would still
not address location security – the ability to limit the use of the spreadsheet
to specifically authorized PCs (e.g. PCs within the company’s office).
Thus, the concept for ExcelSentry was born, with three basic criteria being
the prime development goals:
1) Robust intellectual property security
Robust location security
3) Persistent security (the same level of security
should be maintained even if a spreadsheet is moved outside a controlled
Finding that there was no product on the market that met these criteria,
Geoff decided to commence development on what has now become ExcelSentry.
During the proof of concept and initial development phases, it became clear that
the approach taken would also allow significant flexibility of operation, would
be suitable for use by businesses of all sizes, and would have minimal impact on
After several years of ‘hard labor’ and numerous challenges, the ExcelSentry
product has emerged even stronger and more capable than Geoff had originally
hoped for. ExcelSentry is now providing robust spreadsheet security for
users all around the world across a wide range of industry sectors.
Geoff Bird BE(Civil, Hons),
Geoff is a professional civil/structural engineer, with over
30 years experience in the design and construction industry. He is an
active member of the Structural Engineering Society New Zealand, and has served
in various roles on both the Management and Executive committees for 15
Geoff has been involved with computer programming
initiatives and the development of spreadsheet design tools throughout his
career. He has developed a number of engineering design guides and design
aids, as well as general software tools, for individual companies and for
commercial use. He was the initiator and developer of a steel design
program developed for the New Zealand design codes and used by a majority of New
Zealand’s structural engineers.
Geoff saw the need for a robust yet affordable security
system for Excel spreadsheets, applicable across a wide range of businesses, and
was the inventor and original developer of ExcelSentry.
Geoff enjoys music, travel, and reading – for which he has
little time these days!! He and his wife have two pre-teen children who
keep them busy!
Allan McPherson BE(Hons), BSc(Comp.Sc),
Following a background as a professional engineer, Allan has
now worked in the Information Technology industry for over 20 years. He
has specialized in technical software development, and has been involved in a
variety of engineering, document management, and office productivity
Allan understands the need for a strong quality assurance
process, and while employed as a Senior Systems Analyst for a large engineering
consulting company, was also a Lead Auditor for its ISO 9001 Quality
He joined forces with Geoff in 2006 to further develop and
market ExcelSentry. He believes that ExcelSentry offers an excellent
combination of security and convenience, and is committed to ongoing improvement
of its features and usability.
Allan enjoys listening to and creating music (although
unfortunately is still waiting to receive the invitation to join Pink Floyd as
their guest keyboard player!). He and his wife Sue have three grown-up
children, and are enthusiastic supporters of the Wellington Lions and Hurricanes
rugby football teams, as well as the All Blacks of course!