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The Product

The Directors - Geoff Bird
        - Allan McPherson

The Product

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
2) Robust location security
3) Persistent security (the same level of security should be maintained even if a spreadsheet is moved outside a controlled environment)

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 system resources.

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), NZCE(Civil)

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 years.

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), MIPENZ

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 projects.

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 System.

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!

 

 
 

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