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Harkness leaves distribution for St Bernard

Harkness leaves distribution for St Bernard

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Former Lan 1 security business manager, Rob Harkness, has joined US-based security vendor, St Bernard Software, to set up its first Australian office.

Harkness left Lan 1 in September after two years in the role. He has spent more than 10 years in distribution, including a stint with Avnet, and launched wholesaler, Dovetail Distribution, in 1996. The company was sold to itX earlier this year.

Harkness said he joined St Bernard to take a break from the increasingly tough nature of value-added distribution. One of the major problems he cited in the industry today was over-distribution of product. This left many distributors having to battle it out on price.

"If you wind up out there selling just on price because there's too much choice, it gets tough. There's not much satisfaction in that," he said.

"I saw this job as an opportunity to start up a company that is dynamic and going somewhere. It's very interesting being able to build up a channel, getting everything in place and getting results. I have set up US companies in this market before and enjoy the challenge."

St Bernard produces Internet filtering appliances, patch management and data back-up. Harkness' plans for its channel include a review of its existing partnership with sole local distributor, Infotronics. He said he would consider bringing on a second supplier.

He also highlighted broader reseller recruitment as a top priority. Ideal partners would be those with a security background and a strong market focus. To date, the vendor's key US verticals are education and health.

Harkness said the local branch would concentrate on lead generation, as well as stronger support for partners. This would include new training programs. He is also hoping to appoint a senior sales engineer and support staff early next year to expand its local on-demand services.


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