Networking and security guru, Peter Sandilands, has re-emerged in vendor land as the A/NZ country manager of Fortinet. The security hardware vendor established an Australian presence six months ago and is looking to grow its business in the region.
Sandilands said the company was conducting reseller training at the moment and would look to its partners to capitalise on what he called an emerging trend towards integration of security into a single-box solution.
Another trend he noted was the ever increasing thirst for networking speed, which carried a knock-on effect for the security industry.
“People use computers for two things – to communicate and access data,” he said. “If you look at networking there is always demand for increased speed and the products you use to protect that network have to be able to make it safe without degrading that speed to a level beyond what people will accept.”
The main sticking point for security resellers in 2004, Sandilands said, would continue to be convincing organisations that they need better defences.
“Corporations still need convincing that this is a governance issue and should be allowed for in [financial] planning,” he said. “Security is a business issue, not a technology issue, and smart policy solves problems that technology cannot deal with.”
The need for stringently enforced policies meant security could be a source of ongoing revenues for resellers that offered services following the initial sale.
“It’s fair to expect that there would be ongoing contact to make sure policies were up to date and being adhered to,” Sandilands said. “I was saying services were the key two years ago and they remain the differentiator for resellers because [unlike hardware or software] there is no known price.
“Hardware should be a small portion of the sell. Those resellers focusing on the services side of security, and doing it well, will make money from this industry.”
Fortinet makes a range of security hardware solutions under the FortiGate moniker, which are targeted at everything from SOHO to enterprise customers. The solutions include hardware accelerated antivirus, which Sandilands claimed was unique, as well as firewall, VPN, intrusion detection and prevention and content filtering capabilities.
He said Fortinet was currently rolling out a Fortipartner channel program in the US and was in discussion with local distributors, Dovetail and Lan 1, about the possibility of local implementation.
During his 27 years in the IT industry, Sandilands spent more than eight years helping to establish Novell in the region and has watched its recent open source manoeuvring with interest.
“Novell is reinventing itself and has been very successful in the market with its new focus,” he said. “There’s a large space for open source technology out there because it meets specific needs very effectively.”
Sandilands also spent more than four years with Check Point before leaving in March 2002 to spend time with his family.
He has been teaching networking and security at the University of Technology Sydney but said he could not resist when the opportunity to get back into vendor-land came along.