WatchGuard launches virtual firewall

Virtual security/privacy shield

WatchGuard is to launch four new next generation virtual firewall appliances at Interop next week in Las Vegas. Aimed at small, midsize and large-scale distributed environments, the XTMv products include application control, reputation enabled defence, intrusion prevention, gateway anti-virus, web and spam blockers.

Although traditionally targeting the SMB market, Jamie Pearce, sales manager UK and Ireland at WatchGuard admits: “Every time we bring out a new firewall, it’s bigger, faster and higher up the value chain,” where he claims the firm is gaining market share. The new virtual range will include a datacentre skew aimed at larger installs and MSP provisioning.

Watchguard has around 1000 UK partners currently served predominately by specialist distributor Wick Hill, and supported by broadliners Ingram Micro and Northamber. Pearce says there is “no immediate plan” to expand distribution with the arrival of its software version.

According to Pearce, WatchGuard is planning to update its certification by “looking to make it more granular” with a new virtualisation accreditation likely to appear in the first half of the year. Later down the road, Pearce hinted that it may offer a special MSP pricing model but this was not a priority at the moment.

Several partners have already been trained and certified on the new platform including 365iT, Softcat and Sec-1. Alongside Wick Hill, the vendor is also planning additional webinars, technical training and partner days over the coming months.

The new XTMv range follows a strong 2011 for WatchGuard which included a final quarter that broke all quarterly records with the UK experiencing 78 percent growth. Ian Kilpatrick, chairman at Wick Hill predicts that virtualisation security will continue to grow: “Five years ago everybody rushed to virtualisation to save costs without the faintest thought of more dollars on the budget for running a [secure] virtualised environment.”

Based on its own estimates, less than 10 percent of businesses with virtualised infrastructure have invested in a virtual firewall. Although Kilpatrick concedes that many vendors are jumping on the bandwagon of more complex threats, the fundamentals of the firewall are critical, “to take spending away from firewalls is just lunacy,” he cautions.

WatchGuard is also offering an extra 10 percent margin on its new V products, “As we need to reward the partners that invest in these products,” adds Pearce.


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