Cyberoam: We Compete Only With Fortinet in the UTM Space

Sunil Sharma, Vice President – Sales, Cyberoam (India & SAARC) speaks on Cyberoam’s UTM, partner strategy, expansion plans and competition in this one-on-one with ChannelWorld.

Yogesh Gupta Jul 04th 2012

Unified threat management (UTM) is fast becoming a commodity. What is the tangible ‘value add’ pitch for a channel partner to its enterprise customer base?

Sharma: In contrast with PCs and servers, there is yet time for UTM to become commodity. Many computer (HP/IBM) partners are still unacquainted about UTMs and most of them are constrained to Anti-Virus. For few vendors, it might be a commodity but definitely not for us at least for next three years.

An enterprise would deploy IPS besides UTM though SMBs were always more receptive to UTMs. But with throughput of 2 Gig and as an individual content filter, UTM can beat any single stand-alone product today. This is an enormous opportunity for partners. Today, information for an enterprise must be on the click of button, which is not possible without a robust security framework. Each IT channel partner, in my opinion, should dabble with information security.

Does that imply that the name of the game for UTM vendors is stay atop technology curve besides price war?

Sharma: There is no doubt that as network grew from megabits to gigabits, customers expect UTM to become technologically advanced. If any UTM player wants to stay relevant or stay alive, they have to constantly innovate.

The need of the hour was ‘Web Access Firewall’ (WAF) introduced recently by Cyberoam. An existing customer can buy this software module that secures their web applications. An enterprise executing transactions through their website is potential for WAF. Other UTM vendors do not offer WAF, however, there are companies focused entirely around it.

What about the adoption of UTM in up-country cities? Where lies the bigger opportunity for partners?

Sharma: From April this year, we have increased the presence from eight locations to twelve in India. We have executives in Kerala, Lucknow, Maharashtra (likeAurangabad, Sangli, Nagpur) and Indore. SMEs with clusters of smaller branch offices in these cities are the ideal market which we should have addressed it earlier. They need lot of education, which we are addressing through series of road shows.

Besides UTM, what can Cyberoam partners sell? What happened to the foray into DLP?

Sharma: We are not focusing on DLP. That third-party product was not a full fledged enterprise class, and hence, did not hold much future.

Enterprise services like WAF, Outbound Spam are part of the overall security portfolio. Partners selling low end UTM should transition to sell entire series or add-on services and modules (available as subscription).

With 2 CCNSE and 4 CCNSP in their team, channel partners can become a platinum partner. With our renewed enterprise push, they can benefit from platinum services around appliance optimization at customer end.  The enhanced portfolio with plethora of services means the increase of opportunity size for partners.

Dell acquired Sonicwall and Sophos bought Astaro. But Cyberoam still fights with half a dozen UTM vendors. With WAF, are you competing with Blue Coat too?

Sharma: Our major objective is ensuring security of our enterprise customers through innovative products. I don’t know if Blue Coat finds itself in a corner due to our foray into WAF.

Today, Cyberoam competes with only Fortinet in India and not with four or five UTM players. With launch of enterprise-class UTMs, the competition will be more direct with Fortinet.

But Cyberoam has struggled to make a mark into the enterprise/large enterprise segment since past few years?

Sharma: Cyberoam first attacked the SME which offered a great potential for UTM. Many enterprise centric vendors are now addressing that segment in India.We introduced high end UTM boxes though the complete series will be available in next couple of months. Cyberoam will however never leave its leadership in SME.

Apart from Ahmedabad, we have a full fledged R&D centre in Bangalore for enterprise-class innovations for the last two years. We have forged alliances with big systems integrators for large projects. We have connected the dots for enterprise play that will make us stand taller against competition and help us grasp their share in enterprise UTM market.

Lastly, what are the immediate priorities for Cyberoam for India in 2012?

Sharma: Education, BFSI and Government are the focused verticals this year. We now have an executive to drive projects across government / defense through different partner sets. We expect 25 percent increase in geographic reach and subsequent number of channel partners (to touch 800+ partners) by fiscal end. We are enabling partner engagement on different levels, for e.g., Educating them to sell beyond 15i to higher UTM models like 1000i or 1500i. If we keep our employees motivated and partners profitable, then business is incidental.

We have connected the dots for enterprise play that will make us stand taller against competition and further help grasp their share in enterprise UTM market.