Bulwark bullish about plugging data leaks

IT security specialist Bulwark Technologies expects the fourth quarter of the year to bring a resurgence in enterprise-level spending. Jose Thomas, director of operations at Bulwark — which carries brands such as Cyberoam and Kerio — explains how the company views the changing face of the security channel.

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Bulwark bullish about plugging data leaks
By  Andrew Seymour Published  September 5, 2009 Channel Middle East Logo

Bulwark has distribution contracts with some vendors, but it also implements end-user projects. What would you describe the company as — a distributor or a systems integrator?

Whenever we sign up with a new vendor, one or two initial cases are usually handled by us until there are market references and then everything is available for the channel to work with. Once that has happened, we work with systems integrators for the high-end security solutions and other channels for the SMB sector. Our involvement with the high-end security products, as both a product and service provider, is very much needed to deliver the solutions correctly to the end-user. System integrators are mainly dependent on value-added distributors for support and further end-user services. They act as the single point of contact for the customer and take services from the back-end providers like ourselves.

Do you think that the Middle East security channel suffers from a shortage in skills?

Most companies claim to have security as their main agenda, but I feel that there are a lot of companies which talk about security but don’t necessarily have the resources to support what the customer needs.  Bulwark offers the best technology and technical expertise to those channels and systems integrators to extend as a service to the end-user.

How badly has the recession impacted the security market?

What we have seen this year is that sales of SMB market products have been better than the high-end enterprise products. Many projects are on hold or delayed because of the recession, but we are still seeing an increase in sales for SMB products. That is partly due to the number of channels being added, but also because I think the SMBs are still buying. 

When do you see the enterprise sector picking up?

We are expecting some kind of revival after Eid. From October to the end of the year we expect some of the projects for the security and high-end products to be awarded.

What’s likely to drive the improvement in enterprise sales?

Although high-end security has been impacted by the recession, we are still doing a lot of POCs for solutions around data leakage and admin usage, and we are hopeful that those are going to be concluded in the near future. The smaller products are being sold and SMBs are going ahead with their purchases, but in the enterprise sector we are showing the products to customers and testing in their environments. That is all happening.

What kind of security solutions are moving at the moment?

Products like UTMs and end-point security are moving this year; the data leakage prevention products in particular. Then there are the products for privileged users — monitoring solutions for auditing and control. Bigger organsiations want to have secure usage so we offer products from vendors such as CyberArk for auditing and password management. Internal security has become a very important aspect nowadays. So far people have been concentrating on the various parameter security where a lot of products are available. Internal security is not just about the product, but about developing the culture inside the organisation to reduce such a security threat.

Has the size of your customer base in the region shrunk as a result of the economic downturn?

We have not faced any issues with our partners. Okay, the business might have come down and we may have started getting good business off of other partners rather than our standard partners, but I don’t think anybody has stopped business.

Many customers have reduced their IT budgets. How has this impacted your strategy?

The budget restrictions have meant we have had to compromise on the pricing aspect. We have had to get together with the principals to try and give a better offer to the customers and resellers.

Is Bulwark planning to expand into any new channel or product areas in the coming months?

Region-wise our main focus is the GCC only, and we will be looking for more channel partners in those countries. Many of the principals we work with are coming up with new add-on products so we are not going to add many new vendors, although in areas like data leakage prevention we might add a few products. Data leakage prevention and privileged users — monitoring, auditing and compliance — are the areas that we will be focusing more on in future.

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