Filtering vendor SurfControl launched its first channel-only hardware appliance today, and said it will look to take the product through distribution in the near future.
The firm, which announced its plans to enter the hardware space in July, said the new appliance, Risk Filter, comes in three versions: E10 for 500 users, E20 for 1,000 users and E30 for more than 5,000 users. Pricing starts at £8,000.
Steve Purdham, chief executive of SurfControl, said the products can be used in combination for clustered arrays, but that the key advantage is that they can be taken out of the box and put straight into the rack.
"We recognised that many organisations don't have the bandwidth to implement a system at a software level, and that appliances are becoming the norm," he said.
He admitted that the appliance space is crowded with rival firms, but claimed: "The vast majority are US and are significantly smaller than us."
According to analyst IDC, the security appliance market grew by 57 per cent in the second quarter of 2004 compared with Q2 2003. Factory revenues totalled $523.4m.
Purdham said many companies focus on email filtering but cover only spam. "Spam is a nuisance, but people have to look further these days. Email is now about compliance, and about content, key phrases and words. The filtering of the future isn't about spam and porn," he said.
Neil Hammerton, managing director of vendor Email Systems, agreed but said filtering goes even further than content.
"The future is about email management, not just filtering but managing emails, or, for example, receiving a text message if an important email comes in when you are out of the office," he said.
He added that blocking spam or viruses before they even get to the network is another key element of filtering.
Purdham said the new product will allow SurfControl to expand its channel. "This is our first channel-only product, and although we have lots of software resellers we are also on the lookout for other partners," he said.
"We will look to take this product through distribution. With our software a single-tier channel works but when we enter the appliance space a distributor can add value."
SurfControl has not begun any negotiations and will look only at specialist security players, Purdham added.
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