Software Security Ltd is a software development company specializing in protection of intellectual property as stored in standard office documents. Our flagship product is Spreadsheet Sentry, a software product that provides robust content security for commercially-valuable Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. Spreadsheet Sentry allows control over where secured spreadsheets can be run, and what formulas (if any) and confidential data users may view or modify. The security uses a unique (patent pending) technology that provides security and performance not available in other products.
Software Security Ltd is based in Wellington, New Zealand, and has two directors: Geoff Bird and Allan McPherson.
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 Spreadsheet Sentry.
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!
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 Spreadsheet Sentry. He believes that Spreadsheet Sentry 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 New Zealand All Blacks of course!
Spreadsheet Sentry was conceived in 2003 following a conversation with a business owner lamenting his inability to reliably protect his spreadsheets - spreadsheets of significant commercial value and containing leading-edge technology that gave him his competitive edge.
Further investigation confirmed that the commonly used Excel ‘protection’ options – workbook, worksheet and macro protection were all easy to crack – in fact, tools to do so are readily available on the internet.
File-based password protection gave slightly better security against access by unauthorized users. However, the password had to be provided for authorized users, and once opened, there was no real remaining protection against unauthorized use by an authorized user – employee theft.
Thus, Spreadsheet Sentry was developed – a product offering robust software security, location security, and security that remained in place during legitimate use. Spreadsheet Sentry allows significant flexibility of operation, yet has minimal impact on system resources.