Deep Freeze to software marketing success
Alan Zisman (c) 2009 First published in Business
February 3-9, 2009; issue 1006
High Tech Office column
Mark Twain once wrote that
Montreal was the only city he’d visited where you couldn’t throw a rock
without hitting a church. For a long time, I’ve felt that for Vancouver
the equivalent might be small computer retailers.
A decade or so
ago, one of my favourites was Coquitlam’s Faronics. I bought a
pentium-powered system from the company, running at the then blazingly
fast speed of 166 Mhz.
There’s always been a lot of turnover
among the local computer retailers: companies fold, new ones pop up
regularly. Rather than folding, Faronics evolved. No longer a hardware
vendor, the company has morphed into a software marketer and moved from
Coquitlam to downtown Vancouver. With about 100 employees, it also
maintain a U.S. office in Santa Monica and 50 international resellers.
to Faronics president, Farid Ali, in 1999 HyperTechnology, a customer
for Faronics’ computers, showed the company its Deep Freeze software.
Faronics got a licence to sell Deep Freeze. In 2001, Faronics dropped
the hardware side of its business to focus on software sales. By 2003
the two companies merged.
Deep Freeze remains Faronics’ main
product. It has more than 7,000,000 licences in more than 50 countries,
including all but one of B.C.’s school districts. When installed, Deep
Freeze “freezes” a system. Users can make changes – install software,
delete files, infect the system with viruses or other malware – but
when the system is restarted, the system rolls back to its state at the
time it was “frozen.” (User documents saved to the frozen system would
also be lost, but Deep Freeze can be configured to include a “thawed”
partition or drive or users can save to an unaffected network folder.)
many IT departments might wish they could freeze their users’ systems
in a known-good state, Deep Freeze , with versions for Windows, Mac and
SuSE Linux, is most widely used in schools, libraries, hotels, web
cafés and other places where multiple users access computers. At least
one hotel, according to Ali, uses it on business centre computers,
restarting each when a customer logs off to ensure that no customer
information is left behind – and that the customers have not
inadvertently infected the systems or messed up their configurations.
Anti-Executable, allows users or IT staff to “white list” software
already installed on a computer but block any additional executible
files – i.e., programs – from running. This could help prevent virus
and spyware covert installations, while helping to keep employees on
task. (Parents might consider this for home computers.)
estimates that 40% of employees leave their computers on after working
hours and fail to use the power saving features built into Windows and
Mac operating systems. The result: a waste of 500 gigawatt hours of
electricity each year in B.C., costing users an unnecessary $29 million.
Power Save software gives Windows and Mac users and system
administrators more control over power management than either Microsoft
or Apple provide in their operating systems, optimizing power used by
computer CPUs and hard disks. According to Faronics’ marketing
Dmitry Shesterin, savings on power consumed typically pay back the
software cost in five to six months.
A built-in reporting tool
can demonstrate savings based on local electricity costs, and users
qualify for rebates under BC Hydro’s PowerSmart program.
Other Faronics products include:
•Insight: primarily aimed at computer labs;
•WINSelect: controls what applications can be accessed by users on
public or corporate computers;
•Device Filter: controls what devices are allowed to connect to
•SystemProfiler: provides a detailed inventory of installed software
(including updates) and hardware.
Free downloadable functional evaluation versions are available. •