Network security processors are critical components of high-performance systems built for cybersecurity. Development of a network security processor requires multi-domain experience in semiconductors and complex software security applications, and multiple iterations of both software and hardware implementations. Limited by the business models in use today, such an arduous task can be undertaken only by large incumbent companies and government organizations. Neither the “fabless semiconductor” models nor the silicon intellectual-property licensing (“IP-licensing”) models allow small technology companies to successfully compete. This article describes an alternative approach that produces an ongoing stream of novel network security processors for niche markets through continuous innovation by both large and small companies. This approach, referred to here as the "business ecosystem model for network security processors", includes a flexible and reconfigurable technology platform, a “keystone” business model for the company that maintains the platform architecture, and an extended ecosystem of companies that both contribute and share in the value created by innovation. New opportunities for business model innovation by participating companies are made possible by the ecosystem model. This ecosystem model builds on: i) the lessons learned from the experience of the first author as a senior integrated circuit architect for providers of public-key cryptography solutions and as the owner of a semiconductor startup, and ii) the latest scholarly research on technology entrepreneurship, business models, platforms, and business ecosystems. This article will be of interest to all technology entrepreneurs, but it will be of particular interest to owners of small companies that provide security solutions and to specialized security professionals seeking to launch their own companies.

Additional Metadata
Keywords business ecosystems, business model innovation, commercialization, cybersecurity, platforms, semiconductors, technology entrepreneurship
Journal Technology Innovation Management Review
Citation
Low, Arthur, & Muegge, S. (2013). Keystone business models for network security processors. Technology Innovation Management Review, 25–33.