The fight for reseller loyalties within the security market is set to erupt.
Checkpoint last week hit back against Network Associates by kick starting its local channel program with the signing of its first Australian certified partners.
The security market, being relatively immature and still evolving, represents a massive opportunity for resellers, according to vendors and resellers in that space. Margins are still high, but more import- antly, a security sell more often than not also involves big dollar services opportunities, said Checkpoint managing director Peter Sandilands.
Recently, Network Associates has been none too quiet about its channel ambitions and growth strategy. However, Checkpoint is just as committed to expanding its channel, Sandilands claimed. This week it signed on Com Tech as its first Premium Partner and Adelaide-based reseller Ardec as its first Authorised Partner.
According to Bob Hay, national security manager for Com Tech, the security market is "exploding".
"In 15 months we've gone from zero to being a multimillion dollar division," said Hay. "This premier partnership enforces our known position in the marketplace."
Terry Collins, director of business solutions at Ardec, agreed.
"People know they need some form of protection if they're going to connect to the Internet," he said. "The Checkpoint product is certainly a strategic product for us."
With the security market clearly expanding at an astonishing rate, it is likely that resellers will want to align themselves with one of the major camps. Some, like Network Associates, are taking the suite approach. CheckPoint's approach, on the other hand, has been to encourage third-party vendors to develop products that plug into its OPSEC security framework. It now has 140 vendors supporting OPSEC.
Because it allows best of breed solutions to be pieced together, resellers have more scope to add value, Sandilands claimed. "Resellers can determine what pieces are best suited to each individual customer," he said.
"We're going to be bundling certain products with Firewall-1," said Com Tech's Hay. "The OPSEC architecture lets us know we can do that and it is guaranteed to work. If it doesn't we can go back and beat somebody up."
Both Hay and Collins said their customers are asking for best-of-breed solutions.
"It gives you the flexibility to provide the market with local preferences," Hay said.