Security vendor WatchGuard is priming its channel for the golden opportunity of unified threat management (UTM), which it believes will be 2005's most "in-demand" security approach.
Richard Reid, managing director EMEA of WatchGuard, said the days of simple firewalls are gone. Firms today need a "unified approach", offering features such as intrusion prevention/protection, gateway anti-virus and spam protection, he claimed.
WatchGuard, which launched its multi-function scaleable Firebox X appliance earlier this year, is also offering its channel a new reseller toolkit containing information on products and training, and is revamping its three-tiered Secure Partner Programme to reflect the changing market.
"We are constantly re-assessing our channel. Because the whole market has a short shelf life and the technology and threats are constantly changing, we have to go out and re-evaluate our partners every year to make sure they provide the best service to customers," Reid said.
He added that the margin opportunities for the channel are still strong.
WatchGuard is also seeking new base-level Reseller partners, preferably with specific vertical market specialisations, and is working with its higher-tier partners to provide lead generation.
"Security is still a grey area to many end-users, who possess limited knowledge and skillsets. This is where resellers can add value and increase margin by promoting UTM," Reid said.
Ian Kilpatrick, managing director of distributor Wick Hill Group, said the changes WatchGuard is making are "market-led, rather than technology-led".
"We also see the market going down the UTM route, particularly at the SME end, and have been talking to WatchGuard about this. Our SME customers are looking for something that is easy to use and doesn't involve spending a great deal," he said.
"The good thing about Firebox X is that it is field upgradeable. If a company needs more power in the box it is easy for a partner to implement. This is key for the SME space, where firms are looking to get as much as possible for their pound."
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