Untangle develops and designs security software and appliances that protect computers and enterprise networks. By synthesizing enterprise-grade capabilities with consumer-oriented simplicity, our company creates products that are both powerful and intuitive to use. Designed for organizations ranging from small schools and businesses to large campus environments, our open source solutions offer a cost-effective alternative to expensive, inflexible proprietary software.
In 2007, we were at a crossroads in our software development efforts. We needed to implement a major technology upgrade without delay, but didn’t have internal resources to support the project. The technology at the core of our firewall application with desktop user interface was becoming obsolete, and we needed to replace the existing Java Swing-based user interface with one that was web-based. Building a new UI was not just a massive project; it was a crucial one as well.
The Untangle Next Generation Firewall includes both free and paid apps that block unwanted content, spyware, and viruses from networks. Our Internet Content Control product gives users insight into and control over all their Internet traffic for optimal Internet performance. The usability of the Untangle Firewall was one of the product’s most distinct features. Many of our customers were small businesses and academic institutions with users who were not technical experts, so our management team had to ensure that the new UI delivered the same intuitive user experience as its desktop predecessor.
The best advice I can give a company looking for outside software development support is to find an organization worthy of their trust and then to trust them fully. Talented individuals want to be an integral part of the team, and they deserve to be. I would highly recommend looking to outside support when you are working on major products. Make sure that they are a good cultural fit, aren’t passive and aren’t afraid to push back. You want a team that will take initiative and offer suggestions. That’s an element that’s missing in so many outsourcing arrangements, so it is important to do your research before selecting a firm.
About the Author/Dirk Morris
When he’s not summiting El Capitan or off-roading in Baja, Dirk Morris spends his time as the founder and engineering visionary behind the Untangle network gateway platform. Prior to Untangle, Dirk was Chief Architect at Akheron Technologies, where he invented the patent-pending High Bandwidth Transparent Vectoring used in the company’s proxy firewall engine. He has also held positions as lead engineer at VerticalNet and H.L.L.C. Consulting, developing Java-based distributed monitor and intrusion detection systems. Dirk earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University. He worked on survivability simulations at CERT/CC (Computer Emergency Response Team), the University’s renowned, federally funded Center for Internet security.