The world is getting smaller, at least when it comes to the distribution of advanced networking security gear.
Network and security gear distributor Westcon Group this week announced it has inked a deal with next-generation firewall pioneer Palo Alto Networks that will put the latter's security wares within reach of most Westcon partners.
The deal expands on the pair's relationship, which had been limited to pushing Palo Alto Networks products in select regions, primarily in Europe and Asia.
The new agreement will see Westcon offering the Palo Alto wares in more than 40 countries with plans to ultimately grow the business to every corner of the globe, officials of both companies said.
"Palo Alto Networks has been an important partner in our security practice," said Westcon Group CEO Dolph Westerbos. "Unifying our relationship globally just makes sense.
"This provides our reseller and service provider partners with a broader and more consistent security portfolio around the world, and leverages Westcon's technical and market expertise to drive new revenue," Westerbos added.
The move comes at a time when both Westcon and Palo Alto have been making advancements in their channel-centric market plans.
Over the past year and a half, Palo Alto Networks has focused on an aggressive channel strategy to build an energetic network of security integrators and solution providers funnelling an increasing volume of sales. Its graphically targeted distribution agreements, like its previous deal with Westcon, allowed the vendor to grow market despite the weak economic conditions in many global markets.
Part of Palo Alto Networks success can be attributed to its masterful management of its the next-gen firewall message.
Bolstered by high ratings from technology reviewers and analysts, the company has kept a steady drumbeat aimed at enterprises and mid-markets warning that conventional stateful inspection firewalls are not sufficient to counter emerging threats and application-aware firewalls are required for complete protection.
Providers tell us the advanced security offered by Palo Alto Networks has tremendous appeal to end users. The company's generous compensation, they say, helps offset the loss of the attached-product sales that typically accompany conventional security offerings.
Westcon Group for its part has been steadily bulking up its professional services capabilities its resellers as well as offering more comprehensive technology sets that address specific vertical markets and business outcomes.
Like many in the technology distribution space, Westcon wants to be seen as a more complete purveyor of IT and the additions are aimed at addressing the issues that hinder partner growth and potential.
As product margins decrease, tech providers are increasingly reliant on professional services for their profitability. However, the channel struggles with the cost of supporting professional services organisations, the lack of talent in the market, and the difficulty in capacity planning.
With the expansion of the Palo Alto Networks arrangement, Westcon is taking a more traditional course toward partner support and enablement. But for the growing cadre of partners looking to elevate their network security game and approach clients with a more robust next-generation security option, the deal should serve the channel well.
"For years, Westcon Group has been a valuable ally," said Mark McLaughlin, chairman and CEO at Palo Alto Networks (pictured, above right). "We are pleased to have now a major worldwide distribution partner committed to shared success in a global market hungry for a true next-generation enterprise security platform."
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