AccessData the owners of FTK have offered to buy Guidance Software, the makers of EnCase.
Over the past year Guidance Software’s (GUID) shares have fell from $15 to a low of $2, making it vulnerable to take over, and last month (October) Access Data asked the Guidance board if they could purchase Guidance at $4.50 a share, the offer was refused, and AccessData are now going to approach the share holders directly.
Is this a good thing?
AccessData has slightly different approach to forensics than Guidance, and as such their tools, FTK and EnCase are different. Both have heir pros and cons, but if the pros of both tools could be combined together then computer forensics staff around the world would have access to a single brilliant tool. Well, that’s the theory.
The reality is probably somewhat different. When Guidance became a public company their attitude changed, those who have worked with Encase for a long time have a stark difference in their pricing, support, and overall interaction between clients and the company. Overall the company is now “share holder centric” and less customer friendly, this is, of course, a natural progression from a small 2 man company to the world’s definitive forensic software provider.
AccessData has, perhaps to the annoyance of their CFO, remained far more friendly, and easier to communicate with. No doubt helped by their FTK 2.0 disaster.
AccessData have, for years, had a very good indexing engine, and even now in EnCase 6.11 its nowhere near as good as FTK 1.1. For this reason, AccessData present a challenge to Guidance, and no doubt drive on their R&D team.
If AccessData did merge with Guidance, then the end result would be single dominant forensics company, with no real competition, a monopoly. Which, in the long term, cannot be good for the industry.