Over the last few days I’ve taken the decision to entirely rebrand Kensho Security Labs as Arcana Labs. While the full set of changes will take (knowing me) a few months to implement, I wanted to talk right away about why the name is changing and what the rebrand means for our projects, as the decision was not taken lightly or trivially.
What’s In A Name?
Kensho Security Labs refers (via an anglicization) to the term in Zen Buddhism for momentary true insight - an early stepping-point on the path to enlightenment. When I selected it a few years ago I did so with good reason - as a practicing Zen Buddhist, I felt that the term was germaine both to security and to my lived experiences, and that the two could stand such a merger.
However, I have grown increasingly uncomfortable in using a religious term as a business marker, particularly as I expand the direction KSL projects were heading in toward more and more collaboration with other developers. While I think religion (like all potential impactors on moral decision making) has a place in everyone, I don’t think that place is in the boardroom or on company letterhead.
Taken together with the realization that fewer and fewer KSL projects are directly Security related, and the concern that, germain though it is to my personal experience, there may be an impression of appropriation in the use of the term, I decided a few days ago to change the name completely - originally, I had thought to simply remove the brush-stroke elements from the logo design, and then eventually decided I had might as well go full-hog.
Introducing Arcana Labs
Arcana Labs, the replacement name, was decided upon after some careful consideration of possible alternatives. While evoking the opposite concept to Kensho (emphasizing mystery over insight), the name nonetheless refers to a process of continual refinement and delving into deeper and deeper levels of knowledge. There is always something to be learned in the security and tech fields.
With a mandate targeting Security and Amusements, Arcana Labs intends to continue the pursuit of a philosophy I’ve espoused for a while now with regard to technical problems - namely that the best puzzles are those never intended to be solved.
What Happens Now?
Next to nothing. For at least a few more months, kenshosec.com remains the primary destination for both the lab website and the various email inboxes associated with that domain, and switching away from that domain will be done gradually for both web and email traffic. There are, after all, websites to rebuild (from the stack level), email hosting to rearrange, microservices to port, and keys to update, among other considerations.
In addition to a shiny new logo and new brand treatments (colourways and whatnot), there are a few material changes coming down the pipe:
- The website will be relocated eventually to a new domain, to be announced through this blog and on our twitter page.
- References to Kensho Security Labs in various blog posts and project repos, as well as on our github sponsors profile and Ko-Fi pages, will be replaced and rebranded.
- All email traffic will be changed to use the new, to-be-announced domain. Mailbox names will not need to be changed, and if possible we’ll try and redirect email from the old domain to the new domain for as long as possible.
- Project Yosegi will be renamed to the “Illuminated Arcana” project.
Why Rebuild the Website From Scratch?
If we’re under the hood making cosmetic changes anyway and overhauling virtually every single page anyway, it’s also a perfectly good time to undertake a project I’ve been wanting to tackle for over a year now - replacing the hand-coded static codebase of kenshosec.com with a template-driven, Jekyll-generated static site not quite unlike the process used for this blog.
Such a change will allow more frequent updates to the new Arcana Labs site by lowering the friction needed. While adding a new guide or updating a project page currently remembers juggling (already badly written) HTML, using a static site generation process will allow the new site’s content to be edited more or less on the fly using markdown.
This will also be an opportunity to add another pass of polish and chrome to the existing site layout and make things a bit more visually interesting and a bit less stuck in 1998.
This rebrand is being done mostly in house, minimizing the costs associated with it. However, if you would like to support the development of any of our freely-available software and hardware projects, and you wanted to show your support financially, your best avenue is via my Github Sponsors account or by making a one-time donation to Kensho Security Labs via Ko-Fi.com. There are other financial- and non-financial support options available on our website..