Security distributor First Defence is believed to have become a surprise victim of the tough economic climate in a market that has been relatively buoyant.
First Defence, which sells products from Computer Associates (CA), Symantec, KeySecure and Waterford Technologies, is thought to be facing trading difficulties, and sources expect it to enter into administration soon.
Dave Ball, indirect marketing manager at CA, said the software vendor has been working with First Defence for about six months and that the news came as a shock.
"We were surprised and disappointed by the news that the distributor had gone down," he said.
Ball added that CA will be looking for a replacement as a specialist security distributor. "We are open-minded, but we will look for a security specialist," he said.
Industry sources suggested that CA was already actively seeking a replacement distributor.
A representative for start-up Waterford Technologies said the development will have little effect on the vendor and its partners. "All of our resellers selling through First Defence will be transferred to Unipalm," she said.
A source close to First Defence said: "It has ceased trading with a view to going into administration." A second source contacted by CRN confirmed this.
Despite repeated attempts to contact First Defence, no one from the company was available for comment at the time of going to press.
Bernie Dodwell, sales and marketing director at security distributor Allasso, said IT security distribution is beginning to see a shake-out, with companies such as Peapod going into administration.
"From a distribution point of view the market is still growing, but there are more players competing for the business," he said.
Dodwell added that its small vendor portfolio could be a reason for First Defence's difficulties. "Smaller second-tier distributors are struggling," he said.
Lee Harrison, business development director at E92plus, said: "If a VAR can get a wider range from another distributor, it is more attractive.
"We are seeing a shake-up, and vendors, distributors and VARs are working harder to tread water."
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