Established in 2012, Spikes Security is a developer of web security solutions that prevent browser-borne malware from entering enterprise networks. Its flagship AirGap™ product is an enterprise-class browser isolation system that operates outside the firewall to separate users from their browser and ensure networks will never be infected by malware.
The technology’s roots are from the payment and aerospace industries where security and IP (intellectual property) protection are critical concerns. Company founder and CEO Branden Spikes in fact was the security architect behind IT infrastructure development for PayPal and SpaceX, among other enterprises.
“We have built our reputation in the industry for making the world’s most secure web browser,” says Scott Bennett, chief software architect and VP engineering. “It’s all about keeping information inside the walls of a company.”
Today Spikes deploys its software to all major operating systems and platforms, from desktop to mobile. An integral part of its market success has been the use of RAD Studio for enabling cross-platform development.
“With RAD Studio, Spikes developers can now write from a single code base that they can leverage against all platforms. As a result, we can release product to market faster than any of our competitors, simply because we only have to write code once.”
Scott Bennett, Chief Software Architect and VP Engineering, Spikes Security
The biggest challenge for people building and developing software is having to write programs multiple times to support multiple platforms. Bennett notes, “You start with building Windows applications, and then have to start from scratch to write the others. At the same time the pressure is on to deliver applications more quickly than your competition.”
In addition, developers often have to maintain different development environments for Mac and Windows. “Each platform typically requires its own physical hardware, specifications and domain knowledge. You can’t use the same developer or system for both.”
One common way to manage multiple platforms is with scripting technology, he adds. “Writing script is a great way to get things done. But you’re giving away your source code when you do that and you have to go to great lengths to obfuscate the script. You have to recompile single binary apps for each platform.”
Bennett had been working with Embarcadero Technologies’ solutions long before Spikes launched its product offering. “We’ve been using the Delphi product for years. We were there at the launch and adopted it right away for our desktop release. Then we became one of the first companies to use RAD Studio when we expanded into Android and iOS. We’ve been working with it ever since.”
Prior to adopting RAD Studio, the company had spent considerable time evaluating other options. In each comparison, Embarcadero came out on top; In almost every other case, the available solutions were either plagued with inherent security issues or covered some – but not all – of the platforms.
The key features for Spikes were RAD Studio’s multi-platform capabilities, security, and quality of the pre-built components. “Those components are very important for us,” Bennett says. “Other technologies may have them, but there is no guarantee of their quality. We know we can always trust components released by Embarcadero.”
Another important selling feature was the developer community built by Embarcadero for its software development tools. “That’s the key to everything”, he adds. It’s impossible for a single company to support all developers’ needs. You need an ecosystem to help write components. RAD Studio brings with it one of the finest communities of developers I’ve seen. The quality and the knowledge base are what make the technology so adaptable.”
Implementation did require some training, even for people who were close to the technology. However, Bennett is quick to point out that “the user interface was so intuitive ... it was an easy transition for everyone.” Another bonus is the ability to interface with other enterprise systems such as Salesforce.com. “You have to be connected to applications, otherwise a solution is of little use. RAD Studio allows us to interoperate with other systems, including services provided by third party companies.”
“As a result, we can release product to market faster than any of our competitors, simply because we only have to write code once”
– Scott Bennett, Chief Software Architect and VP Engineering, Spikes Security
“With RAD Studio, Spikes’ developers can now write from a single code base that it can leverage against all platforms. As a result, we can release product to market faster than any of our competitors, simply because we only have to write code once,” Bennett says. Further elaborating, he notes, “One of our competitors in fact started before us, and we have fully launched our product and added new features while they’re still working on developing their first release.”
Another important benefit with RAD Studio is that applications can run directly on the CPU. In addition, there’s no need to optimize binary applications on a per platform basis. “We can build a single optimized compiled binary for all of them, so if we build for Mac, it will run like a native app on Apple technology. If it runs on Windows, it looks, runs and feel like it was built with Microsoft technology,” Bennett explains. The built-in components are also extremely helpful in improving efficiencies and turnaround time. “If you build a new car you don’t need to design a new alternator. You could say RAD Studio comes with a built-in alternator that allows us to share coders and workstations.”
He stresses that RAD Studio has been instrumental in providing fast solutions to its business customers; that “one big advantage for us is that we can have many projects on the go and turn them around quickly by transferring code from one to another. That code reusability is extremely important to developers, because once we have written something in the RAD Studio library, it can be used for any platform or project.”
Spikes has also been able to overlap functions within different departments which were previously managed in isolation. “Traditionally there was an awkward gap between designers and developers. Coders didn’t have the knowledge to implement designs and designers didn’t have the knowledge to implement code. They were two completely different teams focusing on code and business logic. Embarcadero figured this out and came up with a Photoshop-style user interface that a designer can use. So we don’t need to have a $100,000+ coder sitting next to a designer to help then change a button color on the screen.”
With everyone now on board, Bennett outlines his company’s next venture: building 3D applications. “That’s totally exciting for us. We’re starting to use the RAD Studio upgrade to author 3D business applications. It’s so intuitive we can start work right away.”