Bitdefender on the hunt for distributor

Network and security
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Security software vendor Bitdefender is on the hunt for a third distributor in a bid to ramp up sales in the UK.

“We’re looking for a reasonably large distributor who’s got history in the market, has good reach in terms of their number of resellers and they have a pedigree in business solutions, rather than a broadliner,” Bitdefender’s UK managing director, Peter Barlow, told Channel Pro.

Barlow joined Bitdefender in February 2011, vowing to grow its B2B market share, despite the Romania-based firm being predominantly known for its consumer and OEM business. Barlow maintains that while retail and consumer are still important to Bitdefender – he cites its awards from Which? Best Buy and others as carrying credence in its move over to the B2B space – he says retail is “a dying market” for the firm and “the real growth is going to come out of the business side.”

While Barlow admits its market share in the B2B side of the UK security market is miniscule – only a few percent – he says he expects Bitdefender to establish itself as a player by the end of 2012. “We want to see the Symantecs, MacAfees, Trends, becoming very much aware of us operating in that space, because of course they’re not aware of us at the moment,” he says.

Key to this move has been getting in front of a large number of UK resellers; following an ill-fated relationship with CMI Labs, the firm appointed distributor Enta Tech in April this year. (Elsewhere Koch Media handles its retail business.) Now, in line with plans to unveil a new security line for the virtualised environments at VMworld next month, Bitdefender wants to recruit another distie.

The vendor sees its move into virtualisation security as a key differentiator in a crowded market, with Trend Micro the only player currently dominating the sector. “They’ve existed in that market with no competition, and in a way that’s held them back,” reckons Barlow. “There’s been nothing to compare it with. But of course now they have, but the difference is this is the next generation.”

Bitdefender is confident of its play in the virtualisation space in no small part thanks to the presence of its Business Solutions Unit director, Rares Stefan, co-founder of security specialist Third Brigade – which was then acquired by Trend Micro – where he developed hypervisor-based network, VM security and security event correlation systems.

Barlow says despite a false start to its distributor recruitment efforts with an unnamed distributor running into “financial difficulties”, the vendor is now in discussion with several firms. “We do have a big opportunity now with all the announcements coming up on the business side to help us recruit the right partner,” he says.

Bitdefender is also talking directly to both security and virtualisation specialist VARs, meeting with almost 25 potential partners over the last three months.

Says Barlow: “Many already have an alternative security vendor in place, but the comments we’ve been getting when they’ve seen our management console [part of Bitdefender’s SMB line] is favourable compared to the competition.”

Meanwhile, as part of the push to raise its profile outside of Romania, the vendor this week invited journalists to its HQ in Bucharest where it also lifted the curtain on a major re-branding of its software.

The firm has chosen a mythical creature from Romanian folklore, the Dacian Dragon-Wolf, as a figurehead for the company (pictured). Half wolf, half dragon (as you might expect), the creature has come to stand for invincible defence, according to the vendor.

Christine Horton

Christine has been a tech journalist for over 20 years, 10 of which she spent exclusively covering the IT Channel. From 2006-2009 she worked as the editor of Channel Business, before moving on to ChannelPro where she was editor and, latterly, senior editor.

Since 2016, she has been a freelance writer, editor, and copywriter and continues to cover the channel in addition to broader IT themes. Additionally, she provides media training explaining what the channel is and why it’s important to businesses.