WhiteGold adds Fortinet

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Security distributor WhiteGold Solutions has signed US vendor Fortinet in a bid to broaden its appeal to customers seeking a box to handle anti-virus, intrusion detection and prevention, URL-filtering and firewall duties.

Security distributor WhiteGold Solutions has signed US vendor Fortinet in a bid to broaden its appeal to customers seeking a box to handle anti-virus, intrusion detection and prevention, URL-filtering and firewall duties.

Fortinet specialises in appliances that offer unified threat management – anti-virus, intrusion detection and prevention, web filtering and firewall functionality in one box. LAN 1 and Dovetail already distribute Fortinet gear in Australia.

Dominic Whitehand, managing director at WhiteGold, said Fortinet had also managed to knock out Symantec in a fight for the top spot on market researcher IDC's unified threat management vendor list for 2003, he said.

“Fortinet had 29.5 percent of the market and Symantec had 22.9 percent,” Whitehand said.

IDC's report shows that Secure Computing came third, with 21.7 percent, ServGate fourth, with 11.4 percent and Netscreen fifth, with 5.9 percent market share.

“Sales of unified threat management products [are] projected to surpass those of firewall/VPN appliances by 2008,” Whitehand added.

Fortinet products were scaleable from low-end right up to several thousand users, he said.

The vendor's approach was proving successful internationally, especially in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. It had produced responses to data, networking, physical and psychological threats in its products, he said.

Fortinet had also put together unified threat management approach to managed security, Whitehand said.

Jonathan Odria, sales director at WhiteGold, said Fortinet would sit well alongside WatchGuard products in the distributor's portfolio.

“It's not as specific as WatchGuard. We have partners who will specifically sell the Fortinet solution and no other firewall products,” he said. “Some basically build their business around Fortinet.”

However, WhiteGold had been forced to tread carefully to ensure WatchGuard wasn't threatened by the introduction of Fortinet, Odria conceded.

“We did have to think very carefully when Fortinet approached us on how Fortinet could fit into our existing channels,” he said. “WatchGuard wasn't over the moon, but we've still got all guns blazing for WatchGuard as well.”

He said the partners needn't clash despite the new signing. Most of the WatchGuard resellers would stick with WatchGuard, while WhiteGold would essentially build a separate channel for Fortinet.

“We believe we have a line between them,” he said.

WhiteGold had signed so many vendors over the last two years that some replication of niches and product functionality was becoming inevitable, Odria pointed out.

“However, we're basically closing our books now on firewall vendors. We've got enough,” he said.

WhiteGold has also been ramping up its push for two-channel, two-factor token-less authentication vendor Swivel Secure.

Whitehand said that UK-based Swivel Secure had a real chance in the market now industry leader RSA Security had withdrawn its own mobile SMS offering from the Asia-Pacific market.

“They have a very nifty approach to authentication in that you can use SMS, J2ME or what is called “Turing” to authenticate via mobiles, PDAs and the web,” Whitehand said. “Now, Swivel effectively has very little competition.”

RSA said at the time that customers didn't want to create a lot of SMS traffic because it was too costly. However, Whitehand disagreed and believed Swivel's mobile phone-based solution was stronger.

“RSA also stated that SMS authentication was no good for areas with no mobile reception – but with Swivel you can authenticate without mobile reception,” he said.

WhiteGold signed Swivel a few months ago and had taken on five resellers for its products, but was only now ramping up its channel and expecting sales.

“We'd like about 10 partners for Swivel,” he said.

Meanwhile, WhiteGold was also talking to Microsoft about .NET-related opportunities for the Swivel product, Whitehand said.

Fraser Thomas, UK-based CEO at Swivel, has been in Australia talking to current and potential resellers this month.

“The SMB market doesn't want to screw around with tokens,” he said.

Thomas said Swivel was also looking to change local service providers. A US company had handled its servers for the Asia-Pacific region, but Swivel sought a more cost-effective partner – perhaps Australia-based.

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