Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) may be touted as a likely boom technology for 1999, but right now a lack of awareness and education is holding the market back, according to resellers.
To help fight that Shiva has launched a new incentive program encouraging resellers to educate both themselves and their customers.
VPNs enable users to transmit data securely and privately over public networks like the Internet.
The Shiva Channel VPN Incentive Program gives resellers the chance to earn rewards ranging from a pen to a home entertainment system. According to Fan Wang Peng, Shiva's manager for Asia marketing and communications, the program is unique because it doesn't just reward resellers for selling.
Resellers are also given points for doing things like hosting seminars, undertaking training, pitching to new clients, installing evaluation units and so on.
"Virtual private networks are still quite new in terms of the level of deployment and there is still a great need for educating resellers and users," Wang Peng said.
Tim Rosser, sales director of Sydney network reseller Rosser Communications, agreed that right now the market was still in an education phase. "A lot of people are interested but few people are buying," he said.
"A lot of evaluation is typically required, which adds to the cost, and people tend to want reference sites. But there are huge savings for them if they can believe it's real."
Biggest savings arise when users can avoid international telecommunications costs, by using the Internet to connect local area networks in different countries or enabling overseas remote users to hook back into the home network.
Rosser did, however, warn that resellers and integrators needed a certain level of expertise.
"We've got skills in areas like security, the Internet and TCP/IP. Others that aren't in these markets might find it to be quite a complex technology."
Gavin Rae, country manager, Australia/NZ, said Shiva was particularly interested in those resellers and integrators with experience in deploying firewall and security solutions.