After a strong 2011, WatchGuard eyes further A/NZ growth in 2012

After a strong 2011, WatchGuard eyes further A/NZ growth in 2012

Security vendor rewards high performing partners at its Elite 2011 conference and outlines growth plans for 2012

Partners participate in a Q&A session during the conference

Partners participate in a Q&A session during the conference

Security vendor, WatchGuard, not only rewarded the Australian and New Zealand winners of its recent sales incentive competition at its Elite 2011 conference, but also shared its vision for 2012 and highlighted opportunities in the region.

WatchGuard CEO, Joe Wang, opened the conference with a keynote presentation that provided insight to the company’s performance in 2011 and how their customers have benefed from their new product architecture.

For WatchGuard, this year was about the rapid introduction of new Unified Threat Management (UTM) capabilities with Reputation and Enabled Defence (RED) and application control, which according to Wang, was supported by accelerated sales growth of 10 per cent from 2010 to 2011.

WatchGuard has a 100 per cent channel approach and works with 15,000 partners in 120 countries to meet high growth market needs for its XTM solution and RED as customers look to manage web and third party app threat vectors.

The security vendor foresees further growth opportunities for 2012 for renewals and trade-ups, as companies tend to refresh or replace security appliances every three or four years, which could potentially mean that 25 per cent of all companies are prospective buyers of WatchGuard products in 2012.

Wang also expects growth in email security and encryption, as well as data leakage protection, with 74 per cent of companies intending to “do something about it.”

For 2012, WatchGuard aims to focus on its XTM product in the mid-market and start targeting mid-size companies with XCS.

As WatchGuard will continue to be 100 per cent channel focused, it will “partner for success” and offer attractive promos and incentives in 2012.

“Large market opportunities and competitive products that offer the most value make this the best time for WatchGuard partners,” Wang said.

WatchGuard channels and alliances Asia Pacific VP, Scott Robertson, gave a local insight into the investments the security vendor made in A/NZ and the performance of its “extended team.”

Robertson described the channel in Australia as “healthy,” with revenues growing and margins allowing for continuos support through investment.

“The number of partners in A/NZ is growing, increasing WatchGuard’s local reach and creating a more competitive playing field,” he said.

Having already trained over 180 engineers in XTM and XCS, the security vendor will be engaging local partners in 2012 with “sponsored” training that will be introduced in April.

Partners will also be assisted by WatchGuard throughout the sales cycle to get the best returns on Windows Server Protocols (WSPP).

“WatchGuard is committed to its trained and proactive partners, and we will continue to maximise the benefits of WSPP,” he said.

Having witnessed an eventful year in the security space, WatchGuard senior network security analyst, Corey Nachreiner, shared with attendees the trends to be aware of when going into 2012

Nachreiner foresees cloud computing being struck by malware in 2012, as well as advanced persistent threats (APTs) finally trickling down to businesses.

“Hactivists have shown what damage they can do in 2011, and this will only get worse next year,” he said.

In addition to providing warnings about unprotected virtual machines making bad neighbours, he stated that, “BYOD means cleaning your own infections.”

Nachreiner expects that malware on smartphones will increase, having already reared their head in 2011, and Facebook’s security will remain an issue despite the social network introducing several safety measures.

Something else that became a reality in 2011 was digital SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) attacks and spyware knowing where you live due to geo-awareness, and these will continue to be problems as time goes on.

“2012 will be the year that everyone gets compromised, and that can translate into sales and service opportunities for you,” Nachreiner said.

For WatchGuard content security product manager, Roula Vrsic, data loss prevention (DLP) has become a top security priority.

“Next to cyber criminals, employees are the biggest threat,” she said.

As employees exit so does corporate data, though Vrsic pointed out that recent research has found that 73 per cent of data loss resulting from internal sources is accidental and not malicious.

With every department in a company transmitting sensitive information, she says it is important to "control what enters and exits the messaging network," whether it is through attachment control, content scanning, and document fingerprinting.

For businesses that want accurate, policy-driven DLP, Vrsic recommends using a policy-driven DLP solution that is seamless and integrated.

“Email is as private as sending a postcard in the mail, so the market for transparent, policy-based encryption is growing,” she said.

Vrsic expects that customers will gravitate towards a single policy administration for DLP across email and web, so this could turn to potential opportunities for partners providing context scanning, document fingerprinting, and envelope-based email encryption solutions.

WatchGuard international sales VP, Terry Haas, wrapped up the conference with an overview of the vendor’s current situation, as well as targets for partners in 2012.

In addition to increasing revenue rates from a Q4 renewal pool greater than $2.1 million in APAC, WatchGuard would like its partners to raise the current UTM attach rate of 45 per cent in APAC closer to the worldwide level of approximately 55 per cent.

As well as selling more multi-year UTM services and High Availability (HA), Haas hopes partners will capitalise on market opportunities in 2012 to sell XCS for DLP and data-in-motion in the cloud, while at the same time moving "up market" with the solution.

“Customers will need these solutions in 2012, so ensure that you follow up these numerous opportunities,” he said.

Patrick Budmar travelled to WatchGuard’s Elite 2011 event on the Gold Coast as a guest of WatchGuard.

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