NSW reseller Bluefire Corporation has dumped long-standing partner WatchGuard in favour of rival US vendor SonicWall in a new managed security services provider (MSSP) contract.
Tim Dickinson, regional sales manager for SonicWall in Australia, New Zealand and Oceania, said it had just signed Bluefire as MSSP for SonicWall's portfolio. Bluefire was previously 'one of WatchGuard's foremost partners', he said, but had chosen to shift allegiance to SonicWall.
Sydney-based Bluefire would offer SonicWall's network security suite – which includes anti-virus and VPN offerings -- SMBs and enterprises nationally, he said.
'Companies like Bluefire have made a big investment in assisting vendors to do managed security services provision,' Dickinson said. 'Bluefire has previously been selling WatchGuard and is moving to SonicWall.'
Bluefire was committed to selling the product and deploying the platform to help build up that company's services portfolio.
'They've got an established client base and expertise in offering managed services and they really understand the business model,' Dickinson said. 'If you look at North America, managed security services is growing exponentially.'
Australia's love affair with MSSP wasn't far behind. 'Australia is just starting to pick up on it now,' Dickinson added.
He said that market research firm Frost & Sullivan had forecast the overall managed services market to grow strongly to 2007. The US managed security services market was tipped to grow 45.5 percent to reach US$1.2 billion in 2004, Dickinson said.
'We had a guy come out from the US and do training. We had 10 resellers in each session, one in Sydney and one in Melbourne. They can really see the opportunities,' he said. 'There's plenty of room, especially in the SMB market.'
Dickinson said SMBs were finding it increasingly hard to manage IT infrastructure security. Patch management alone was a nightmare, he pointed out.
Smaller companies were starting to realise that, for a reasonable price, they could outsource their IT security management, he said.
Sven Radavics, the newly-appointed director of sales for Australia and New Zealand at WatchGuard, cast doubt on Dickinson's claims.
Radavics said 'as far as he knew' Bluefire was not severing relations with WatchGuard.
'[Bluefire] sells WatchGuard, NetScreen, SonicWall – so they have always sold us. They've never done managed security services provision,' Radavics said.
Bluefire Corporation was contacted for comment but had not replied at press-time.
A statement released by SonicWall said that Bluefire chose SonicWall because the latter was 'extremely proactive' in the market and had a strong, 'feature-rich' product set.
Jason Serda, joint MD at Bluefire, was quoted as saying that SonicWall would give the reseller access to 'best-of-breed technical experts'. 'This level of support is a differentiator in the market,' Serda said.