Former Lan Systems CEO, Scott Frew, has returned to the distribution game after acquiring a 75 per cent share of Firewall Systems.
Frew – who moved to Belgium with his family in 1999 after parting company with Lan Systems – said he was asked to buy the company by Firewall’s co-founder and executive technical director, John Labza.
“My first reaction was to ask if he was mad but after a few conversations I have decided to give it a bash,” said Frew.
“They [Firewall Systems] do the technical stuff well but don’t know how to run a marketing program. That’s one of the reasons I got in. I have managed a fast-growing business before and know how to do it.”
Frew’s first move has been to find the Victoria-based distributor a new head office in the Sydney suburb of Lane Cove. The company’s Melbourne building will remain open as a southern region sales office headed up by Michael Fisher.
There are no plans to appoint a sales manager in Sydney, because Frew intends to lead by example, but he is keen to appoint a channel manager. Expansion plans for Brisbane and Perth are also under consideration.
The arrival of Frew sees one of Firewall’s co-founders, Gary Thomas, leave the company. He is thought to be planning a new reseller business.
Key to the new Firewall Systems business model, Frew said, would be encouraging resellers to offer three-year services contracts with products instead of simply installing the hardware.
The services contracts would include firmware updates, a choice of next business day or 24 x 7 replacements and penetration attack tests on perimeter firewalls every six months.
“I want to turn all tier-two resellers into security dealers, which means offering the pre- and post-sales support to deliver that,” Frew said.
“If resellers are deploying any sort of security products to customers, and don’t have the expertise themselves, my key message would be that we are the only guys focused on providing security products with services wrapped around them.”
While he had watched the overall IT market mature during his four years out of the game, Frew said the security market was still evolving and claimed he would be able to quadruple the Firewall Systems business within 12 months.
Firewall Systems started out as a WatchGuard reseller but morphed into a distributor about two years ago. Its other vendor partners include BorderWare, Vasco, Network Box, FiberLogic and St Bernard.