Niche security demand strikes WhiteGold

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Specialist security distributor WhiteGold Solutions is looking forward to a great year, on the back of some big wins and scheduled further expansion.

Specialist security distributor WhiteGold Solutions is looking forward to a great year, on the back of some big wins and scheduled further expansion.

Dominic Whitehand, managing director at Sydney-based WhiteGold, said the company was seeking to sign another three or four vendors. This would solidify its existing relationships and hire a telemarketer and business development manager, he said.

"All in all, it was a very good year for us last year. This year is set to be a great year," he said. "We expect to go to 15 or 20 people in the next 24 months and we're opening a Melbourne office in the next two weeks."

He said the company, which began in 2002, earned 'hundreds of thousands' in revenue in 2003 and expected that to break the multi-million mark this year.

Whitehand said last year's growth had given the distributor room to deploy a new AccPac-based CRM system, update its website and continue its successful security seminar series.

"All this is off some very good success with Blue Reef and other vendors," he said.

Blue Reef's firewall product had done particularly well in the education vertical for WhiteGold. Whitehand said the firewall also had 14 or 15 other distinct functions such as bandwidth control, spam processing, and billing built into the box.

Schools had found it particularly prohibitive to have to buy several point solutions to get that functionality, he added.

"We've got about 10 implementations lined up in the next few weeks and going from strength to strength," he said. "We have some of the biggest schools in NSW and some in Victoria."
WhiteGold had just run a vulnerability management seminar with another of its vendors, eEye Digital Security, with Ben Nagy from eEye Geneva as the speaker, and plans a series of monthly Tier-3 seminars on network behaviour anomaly detection, he said.

"We've a lot more activity with eEye," Whitehand said. "They're going to release a new high-end product which will include their existing vulnerability management engine and bring firewall and IPS (Intrusion Prevention System) in."

WhiteGold was also discussing with the Association of Independent Schools ways to offer managed services across all its campuses.

Jonathan Odria, sales director at WhiteGold, put the company's growth to an increasing awareness of security's importance and a better understanding of system vulnerabilities and how to prevent IT-related threats.

"How to find them and fix them," Odria said.

The company was also increasing its business with Perth security ISV WebSpy, he said.

Patch management services were going to be another big growth area, Whitehand predicted. WhiteGold had asked many end-users and one recurring request was for patch management capability, he said.

StoneGate appliance and StoneGate IPS from European vendor StoneSoft were also expected to grow sales for the niche distributor.

Jarmo Haara, Asia-Pacific vice-president for StoneSoft, said StoneSoft wanted to grow its channel sales in Australia through the Asia-Pacific launch of its new appliance and IPS.

"We actually just got last year's [sales] figures, and there's a more positive outlook in the overall market. Last year was quite difficult, partly due to SARS, but its beginning to grow nicely," Yaara said.

He said he couldn't give actual figures, but IPS was expected to make sales inroads this year.

Whitehand pointed out that many vendors this year were pushing IPS rather than IDS, as awareness grew of the differences.

"Looking at what [research firm] Gartner has been talking about for the last six months, this whole false positive thing. There are thousands of viruses out there -- too many for anybody to do anything about," he said. "Do you shelve the product and say it's too hard, or do you take a proactive approach, such as IPS?"

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