Firewall Management Emerges as Bigger Channel Opportunity


IT organizations of all sizes are under assault. On a daily basis they now need to fend hundreds, sometimes thousands, of attacks that are being launched by not only cyber criminals, but a new generation of “hactivists” and quasi-official organizations that may be pursuing one national agenda or another. Against those odds most IT organizations are hiding their most precious digital assets behind an aging firewall platform that is riddled with holes that needed to be creates to support one Web application or another.

The good news from a security perspective is that next-generation firewalls are now widely available in a variety of classes of platforms. What defines a next generation firewall from most existing firewall platforms is that they provide more granular control over applications. While next generation firewalls may not be ready to replace existing firewalls; they do add another significant layer of security to the enterprise.

The biggest challenge many customers face when migrating to a next generation firewall is complexity associated with migrating hundreds of existing rules that define their existing security policies to a new firewall platform. Managing that migration process using AlgoSec firewall management software, says Sam Erdheim, senior security strategist at AlgoSec, is creating a significant opportunity for the channel.

Erdheim says that in 2013 AlgoSec is looking to significantly expand its presence in North America. Not only do most organizations need to migrate to a new firewall platform; most of them for the foreseeable future are going to need to manage multiple firewall platforms.

In fact, Mark Behan, line of business director for advanced security solutions at Dimension Data, says that as an AlgoSec partner, Dimension Data has already developed a firewall management practice simply to help customers migrate from one generation of firewall technology to another. With the advent of next-generation firewalls, Behan says the number of customers looking for that type of service is about to significantly expand.

Erdheim says given that opportunity AlgoSec sees room for more channel partners in North America which is one of the reasons AlgoSec is expanding its channel investment in 2013 in North America, including the appointment of Brad Canavan as director of channels. Canavan has more than 18 years of sales, management, and marketing experience and has held sales leadership positions at Octagon Research Solutions, Iovation and Clearswift. In addition, AlgoSec is a member of the McAfee Security Innovation Alliance program.

Change is almost always good for the channel, especially when it involves replacing legacy technologies with better platforms. Nowhere is that happening more regularly at the moment than with firewalls, the vast majority of which are having trouble defending customers from modern malware that is being delivered faster than ever using multiple means of distribution. While most organizations will be loath to throw out there existing firewalls, the chances are very high that by end of this year they are going to need some outside help managing firewalls that are likely to now come from two or more vendors.

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