Risk management specialist Internet Security Systems (ISS) has expanded its direct operations into Australia with a little help from its channel friends.
Building on existing relationships with resellers CDM and Citadel, ISS has added ComTech Communications, Alpha West and Wang NZ to its stable, and is establishing an office down under to offer more support to its sales channel in an era of e-commerce and Internet complexities. "E-business is in an early adopter phase at the moment," claims Steven Laskowski, managing director, Australia and New Zealand, ISS. He is anticipating this will "force businesses to open up their systems to the public, which will mean they have to face the fact that there has been a 60 per cent increase in the number of computers being compromised in the last six months".
Laskowski is predicting the changing face of business, and the ISS channel, will alter the traditionally low priority security has occupied in the minds of end users. "Our partners know network integration, system integration and business integration. It's easy for them to blend security into this as they already have security skills and complementary products."
ISS has ensured that its partner base remains small and personal, and includes resellers exclusively. "We didn't want a two-tier distribution channel and believe that the partners we have selected understand the business needs of potential clients. They are not only technically savvy but business savvy and in the end e-commerce comes down to the management of risk," claims Laskowski.
Laskowski believes that ISS products cater to this need. "Our systems monitor, detect and respond to security risks," claims Laskowski, adding that ISS focuses exclusively on vulnerability detection and risk assessment, giving it an advantage over competitors who attempt to offer a whole suite of security products, including firewalls and encryption.
Laskowski is adamant that the singular focus is not detrimental to end users, and is in fact advantageous to resellers. "Our partners can value-add because ISS' software can discover vulnerabilities which our partners can then fix because they are already multi-skilled."
Resellers will be able to perform this function with the technical support of ISS, which includes a 24 x 7 support service and certified engineer training. Regular classes to keep resellers up to date in what Laskowski describes as "an industry that is a constantly moving target", is supplemented by weekly ISS security alerts describing the latest hacker manoeuvres and business vulnerabilities.
With new products such as Hacker Tracker about to be released, Laskowski is confident of ISS' continued success in Australia. "ISS already has 25 government departments and agencies, 11 banks and several telecommunications companies as customers in Australia. Hacker Tracker will allow them to not only determine that someone is breaking into their system but it will go out, find the hacker and provide a profile on that person. Our goal is to offer this service, through our channel partners, to 50 per cent of the top 100 companies in Australia by the end of 1999."