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Wed 22 Dec 2004 04:00 AM

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Sidewinder ships tonight

US security stalwart Secure Computing is renewing its efforts to win business in the region with the Sidewinder UTM device at the forefront.

|~|philpot-1_m.jpg|~|“Sidewinder includes a firewall based on application proxies. We are trying to stay ahead of the hackers, who often try to infiltrate on the back of applications. It’s important that companies have these security mechanisms in place.” - Andrew Philpott, vice president of Secure Computing EMEA|~|Secure Computing has high hopes for its SideWinder UTM appliance, which incorporates firewall, intrusion detection and prevention, and gateway antivirus in one device, and sees it spearheading the companies assault on corporate security budgets.

Secure Computing predicts that corporates will want to reduce the number of products and technologies they have to maintain and manage and sees the consolidation of functions on to one device as a positive move. The company is aiming the devices especially at large enterprise customers for use in remote offices, where it can offer a simple to manage, all-in-one solution. The security company is also talking up the importance of its application-based firewall.

“Sidewinder includes a firewall based on application proxies. We are trying to stay ahead of the hackers, who often try to infiltrate on the back of applications. It’s important that companies have these security mechanisms in place,” says Andrew Philpott, vice president of Secure Computing EMEA.

Research firm IDC recently singled out UTM devices as a key growth area in the security landscape and identified Secure Computing as the third biggest global player. IDC claims that this category of appliance has grown quickly to take up 12% of the overall security appliance marketplace and the analysts place Secure Computing behind Fortinet and Symantec with a 9.3% global market share.

“The emerging UTM security appliance market is transforming the single function appliance into one that offers multiple security features in a single platform,” says Charles Kolodgy, research director at IDC.

“These appliances will be popular because they offer substantial advantages in performance, convenience and choice to customers, resellers and product vendors. We expect more vendors will be entering this market in the near future,” he adds.

Secure Computing is looking to its relationship with regional distributor US Telecommunication to build up business in the region. The distributor has been charged with building up an effective channel in the region for Secure Computing’s three product areas, which focus on web filtering and token authentication as well as UTM appliances.

“The Middle East is clearly a marketplace which is growing at a phenomenal rate and as we are seeking revenue growth across the world we recognise that the Middle East is where we have to be,” says Philpott.

“Our objectives are to sell our three core technologies to the corporate marketplace and to do this we need to ensure we are working with the right partners. They need to sell, support and integrate our solutions into an organisation’s security environment,” he adds.

US Telecommunication has already signed up partners such as Beta IT and Solutions ME in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Systems in the Kingdom.

“We’re looking for security aware partners with the right skill sets. The products are very technical so we need guys with good understanding of the network,” says Fahd Suleman, product manager for Secure Computing at US Telecommunication. “We also need companies that deal with enterprise customers. In four or five months we plan to have a lot more resellers signed up,” he adds.

The company has also fended off an unsolicited takeover bid by fellow security player CyberGuard in the last few months. CyberGuard offered in the region of US$278 million for Secure Computing, but its shareholders rejected the plan.“CyberGuard tried to buy us out,” says Philpott. “It made an offer, which we put to our shareholders and they felt that it wasn’t in their best interests to accept the bid,” he adds.||**||

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