SnapGear signs on Japanese distie giant

SnapGear signs on Japanese distie giant

Australian-owned Internet security appliance exporter SnapGear has scored a coup in its overseas expansion, signing up Japanese solutions giant Sumitomo Metal System Solutions to distribute its complete range of products.

Sumitomo's network security division, SMI Digital Security, which will distribute the products, is one of the largest security distributors in the region. The products have already been converted to the Japanese language and the company hopes to take on rival SonicWALL in the SME space.

The company has also signed a distribution agreement with Ingram Micro in the US and plans to rapidly grow its business throughout Europe.

"The Japanese market is a little bit different to the US," said SnapGear president Peter Cronk, referring to the recent surge in DSL subscriptions. More than three million homes are connected via DSL in Japan, most of which came in the last 18 months resulting from local providers being forced to open up the market.

But the company's success overseas means more than just sales for the Australian company. It also provides a legitimacy to the products it sells here in Australia.

"The Australian channel is doing really well," Cronk said. "It's a funny market -- if a product is made in Australia, people can tend to shy away. It's odd and there are lots of reasons behind it but the fact that the product is accepted and taken up in overseas markets like the US gives it a lot of credibility. It can make the sell into large replicated sites very easy for our partners, because we have the customers. It makes life infinitely easier for them."

SnapGear partners with Dovetail, ServerBits, Connectech and TechPlus for distribution locally. The vendor is keen to take on more channel partners, but will limit the number of distributors, according to Cronk.

"We are looking for value-added distributors but we are not going to go in and sign up anyone. We want to limit the number of distributors so they can work in partnership and do things like co-op marketing, trade shows and advertising. You can't do that with too wide a focus."

SnapGear's products are aimed squarely at the SME market, particularly in small enterprise and replicated sites, although the products are also deployed at a home-office level.

"We don't pretend we have big enterprise boxes, we are not aiming there at all," Cronk said. "We are looking at SMEs. That part of the market has just started to wake up to Internet security. They may not know what a VPN is, for example, but they know they have to have it."

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