Blue Coat extends Middle East reach with new distributor

Blue Coat and Computerlinks extend distribution agreement to cover GCC.

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By  Administrator Published  September 25, 2007

Blue Coat Systems has announced the appointment of Computerlinks Middle East as Gulf-wide distributor for its secure web communications and acceleration solutions.

The new agreement extends Blue Coat's existing distribution agreement with Computerlinks, which covers Western Europe and the US, to the GCC. Blue Coat will now be able to access Computerlinks network of over 250 value-added resellers in the Middle East.

Nigel Hawthorn, VP for marketing EMEA and Service Providers, Blue Coat, said: "The Computerlinks agreement gives us greater strength to reach more companies. ComputerLinks Middle East has developed a network of over 250 value added resellers in the region, thus extending Blue Coat's reach."

Blue Coat sees a great deal of potential for many of its different solutions in the Middle East market, according to Hawthorn. The company sees a growing interest in web filtering from organizations that are concerned about productivity.

"Blue Coat has a very strong history in the Middle East on working with governments on blocking sites, and now institutions such as universities and enterprises are also concerned about the grey areas - activities that are not strictly bad, but are time wasting or inappropriate like social networking, shopping or news. The organization has to ask ‘is it okay to read the news at work?' and if yes for one minute or for two hours.

"Different departments have different requirements, so with Blue Coat companies are able to set policies per person, per department, for different times of day, and create and deliver coaching and warnings about usage, so that the management does not appear to be in conflict with employees, and that employees buy into the idea of productivity," he added.

For network acceleration, Hawthorn said that historically Blue Coat has a very strong presence with telecoms providers, but is seeing more and more demand from enterprises. The company has a number of deployments in the region, including Herriot Watt University, which uses Blue Coat solutions to maximize bandwidth and reduce latency to be able to deliver a Virtual Learning Environment hosted at its main campus in Edinburgh, Scotland to its Dubai satellite campus.

In the security sector, Hawthorn says that companies have a growing awareness of the disruption caused by phishing, and also that the company expects to see a rise in industrial espionage. The company also sees requests from some companies to help protect against theft of company intellectual property from within the company, and how networks can be regulated to defend against this threat.

"There have been a number of industrial spying incidents, attempts to get confidential data from an organization, and I think that is going to grow," said Hawthorn. "Also, some companies are concerned about loss of intellectual property - some are very concerned about the ability, for example, of instant messaging to send out large volumes of private information from a company. Blue Coat helps companies to shut down the conduits of abuse, be it stopping IM attachments or blocking web-based email, and also provides reporting and analysis to detect strange traffic patterns, and prevent information leaks."

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