Alstom IT has signed up to distribute the NetScreen Technologies line of network security appliances and systems, after almost two years of negotiation with the US vendor.
Under the agreement, Alstom IT adds NetScreen's integrated firewall and VPN platforms, intrusion detection, prevention systems and security management to its security offerings to resellers and system integrators.
Greg Newham, general manager at Alstom IT, said that -- while NetScreen's range in some ways competed with the Check Point line the distributor already carried -- NetScreen offered an out-of-the-box client which gave it an edge.
'We've been trying to do business with [NetScreen] for nearly two years. The process has taken a long time and we've been negotiating on and off,' he said.
Newham said NetScreen's product range complemented its Trend Micro and Websense offerings. The deal was a standard contract including pre-sales support of NetScreen's range, potentially ongoing but renewed annually, he said.
'NetScreen traditionally has concentrated on the high-end, but they [have] also got a whole range of products coming out [soon] for the lower end of the market, which I think is going to be very exciting,' Newham said.
Gil Thew, director for Australia at NetScreen, said the US vendor had no plans to cut its other two Australian distributors, LAN Systems and Channelworx, as it was predicting 'significant growth' in demand for its products.
'Security is hot ... We wanted to expand capacity without having to pay costs up front ... We think we can double our numbers in the next 12 months [in Australia],' he said.
Government and enterprise business would spearhead that growth, but the mid-size space would also ramp up, Thew said.
'We've been getting a lot of penetration in the enterprise in the last six months,' he said.
Thew said Alstom IT would add its strength in the SMB space and 'Sun stuff' to NetScreen's bow.
'Also, they are not a Cisco reseller and that helps us. It's difficult sometimes if you're distributing Cisco and our products because Cisco has a product that competes with one of ours,' he said.
Thew said Alstom IT's strong relationship with Trend Micro was another advantage.
'We have a very strong alliance with Trend Micro - we are putting their product in our NetScreen boxes,' he said.
Thew said NetScreen had no plans to add more Australian distributors at this stage.
'I figure we should just go for three months or so working on the relationship. We don't want to flood the market with channel and end up cutting the products' throats,' Thew said.
NetScreen Technologies is a NASDAQ-listed company with market capitalisation of nearly US$2 billion.