Astaro seeks to strike a sharper profile
NZ distie deal in the works, with boots on the ground to comeBy Simon Eskow, Auckland | Friday, 08 July 2011
Unified threat management (UTM) specialist Astaro is positioning itself for greater brand recognition locally, with two new hires and a sole-distribution arrangement on the horizon.
The company last month appointed Karen Delaney as ANZ country manager and Troy Cunningham as pre-sales engineer, both coming from competitor SonicWall.
While the new hires will be based in Sydney, they are seen as pivotal to Astaro’s plans to develop its channels here. The company is currently in talks with several organisations to establish an exclusive distribution deal, which it expects to finalise in the third quarter.
The company also hopes to use the established regional presence of web security provider Sophos, which is in the process of acquiring Astaro.
“The next phase of the company growth is that integration with Sophos,” says Norbert Kiss, Astaro’s APAC VP. “It gives us leverage. Where we didn’t have access to channel or customers, Sophos will give us that access. Part of the conversation we are having with the channels in New Zealand is how do we work with the additional coverage we get with the Sophos merger.”
Astaro has existing relationships and made initial contact with several resellers in New Zealand, giving them time to conduct “due dilligence” of Astaro’s portfolio, so that there could be partners ready to jump on board as soon as a distributor is announced.
Kiss wouldn’t specify which resellers the company was in talks with, but he did say “we are across all of the usual suspects”.
Kiss says the distribution deal would help accelerate adoption of Astaro UTM products, which the company sees as increasingly competitive with point solutions.
“Two years ago you might be having a conversation with companies doing just email security or just web blocking,” says Kiss. “UTM in the last two years has improved substantially because just with the performance of the hardware, like quad core processors and so on, we can do so much network inspection now, the viabiltiy has really improved. [So] the UTM market has come to the stage that where they compete strongly with those point solutions.”
Analyst firms Frost and Sullivan and IDC have ranked Astaro fourth in the global security market, behind Fortinet, SonicWall and Watchguard. The company, which is based in Europe, began to invest in Asia Pacific in 2009 and is the fastest growing UTM provider in the region. The company had $56 million in billings and 30 percent year over year growth in 2010, according to a statement released by Sophos.
Kiss and Delaney say the wider adoption of cloud solutions has played to Astaro’s strengths. Astaro provides UTM hardware and virtual solutions and is VMware certified.
“One of the reasons both myself and [Cunningham] came onboard from SonicWall was the whole vision of the cloud platfrom with Astaro,” Delaney says. “We were being asked constantly for a virtual firewall and it wasn’t on the roadmap for any other vendor,” he claims.
Delaney was the ANZ channel manager for SonicWall. She has run her own IT recruitment firm and has held senior channel roles with IBM, Acer and Epson. Cunningham was a systems engineer at SonicWall
The company is still “going through the thought process” of establishing a physical presence in New Zealand, according to Kiss. But Delaney and Cunningham plan to work closely with channel partners over the next few months.
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