FireMon has made its push into the Australian and New Zealand markets by extending its global partnership with Westcon Group.
The company’s founder, Jody Brazil, running a managed security services business at the time had the challenge of closing the gap between the intended level of security and the actual security posture of organisations under the company was managing.
FireMon vice-president of worldwide channel sales and distribution, Todd DeBell, told ARN that the vendor was born out of this professional services play from Fishnet, one of the largest managed services security providers in the US.
“We started within a reseller in the US as a professional services play. That turned into its own product over time. In 2004, the first venture capital team came in to work with the reseller and the founder said this IP and this vendor piece the company has was separate from the reseller side,” he said.
“Essentially what they said was, ‘let’s spin this out, it should be separated, it should be in a spot where it does not compete and it doesn’t stay within the organisation where we were afraid it would die'."
DeBell said the firm believed the offering had so much traction and momentum, that if it stayed within Fishnet, it would not reach its full potential in the market.
“Our two co-founders are still in the business today, they both have reseller roots,” he said.
“The product itself, from a channel perspective is about 96 per cent globally through channel. That four per cent is those markets where we do not have a really strong channel, some of the areas where we don’t have the language or people but we get a purchase order and we take it.”
The company has a global distribution agreement with Westcon and DeBell explained the vendor’s approach to the Australian and New Zealand markets has been informed by its approach to similar regions around the world.
“We see the Australian market as we see some of the other markets around the world,” he said.
“We have partnered with Westcon globally, we were their first incubation partner to come through the whole program. It is a global initiative for them [Westcon] to start looking for the next big winners.
“The cool thing about our partnership with Westcon is that we support Cisco, CheckPoint, Intel Security, Juniper, Fortinet, F5, many of the brands they already cover, we are an alliance partner with those companies on a global basis.
DeBell said the solution lets the administrator or MSSP bridge the security gaps by consolidating visibility of different solutions in one graphical representation.
“The cool thing about the product is, we have those relationships and we work with all of them. We don’t make the firewall, we don’t make the F5 load balancer, we don’t make the Cisco router, but we make them better,” he said.
“Better visibility, better management and better access to information, whether it is in a compliance situation from the partner standpoint to the end user, or it’s a scenario where they are just trying to manage it on a day-to-day basis with less staff.
“We bring a whole element that the reseller can actually go in and sell those professional services, work with the end user on the start to finish solution and begin to help with that piece.”
DeBell went on to say that the most significant play for the company at the moment was next-generation firewalls.
“Customers are saying that they need to have a next gen firewall and in moving to that they want the app support,” he said.
“What we do is help them with an expedited process from where they are to that next gen firewall. We consolidate the rules, clean up the rules and generally take anywhere from 25 to 40 per cent of the rules out of the existing firewalls because that existing space has been there and nobody has taken any of the rules out.”
When asked if this process was akin to whitelisting, Firemon A/NZ regional manager, Mick Stephens, said It was more like getting rid of redundant rulesets and overshadowed rule sets.
“It’s the whole concept that rules are added but very rarely deleted over time, so you end up with an ever-increasing rule set that then increases the overall complexity from a management perspective, an operational perspective and visibility perspective,” he said.
“That then leads to operational inefficiencies which then can potentially lead to firewall administration staff under pressure from the business units to deliver an access outcome, to provide overly permissive access.
“The any/any accept type rules and if you look at breach situations, it is those overly permissive rules that allow breaches to occur and potential data exfiltration. There is clever stuff in between, or user error, be it fat fingers or malicious.
“So, being able to help define that within an organisation, decreasing the rule base, decreasing the complexity, decreasing the permissiveness of rule sets and then moving it to the compliance end.”
DeBell said FireMon’s point of difference was not the technology within the solution but its interoperability with other offerings.
“Each of the brands that we cover, have some of the functionality that we have in our product, not all of them are as extensive,” he said.
“However, CheckPoint and Cisco will not share code with each other because they’re competitors and CheckPoint wants to say all CheckPoint, Cisco wants to say all Cisco. What we do is we bridge that gap because we are alliance partners with all of those vendors and they give us information on the back end to help us support and start to understand their unique differences.
“If I am an end user, I am looking at a single pane of glass for my compliance as opposed to an excel spreadsheet. Instead of looking at multiple different items from each vendor that you have, you can get that visibility and see if there are any gaps.
“It also normalises it so that it all looks the same so if I am looking at the CheckPoint and I am looking at the Juniper, even if I am not as familiar with one as the other, they all look the same.
DeBell said the value to the channel is the tool can help channel partners managing multi tenant infrastructures as an MSP or MSSP.
“If they are running a services business, this is a good opportunity for them to step that up very quickly and provide a very comprehensive approach in a very needed area,” he said.