Logic dictates that even the smallest of the SMBs face the same advanced malware and stealthy threats as any other market segment. Trouble is, they have drastically less ability to effectively fight them off, and few dedicated products that would make it easier to do so.
In an effort to fill in some of those security gaps, San Jose, Calif.-based NetGear Inc. released the latest version of its flagship Unified Threat Management Firewall, the ProSecure UTM 25S, giving partners new means to refocus efforts on their smallest customers while touting increasingly advanced security capabilities.
There is no shortage of UTMs in the market, and they all more or less offer the same set of standard security features, plus or minus a few enhancements. However, one of the biggest differentiators here is that the UTM 25S provides two modular slots that fit optional interface cards, which allows IT administrators or channel partners to custom-tailor firewalls to meet specific connectivity requirements.
Also, the new firewall integrates with the networking security firm’s ReadyNAS network attached storage (NAS) systems, which gives customers almost unlimited activity log and quarantine capacity for additional forensic, regulatory and legal services.
For the channel, the customizable features and NAS integrations set the stage for copious specialized and high-margin services, which partners can specifically tailor to their customers’ environments.
Historically Netgear’s sweet spot has resided in SMB markets, so the slew of nuanced forensic and customizable sophisticated features might seem a bit of a departure. Not necessarily. Among other things, the launch attempts to make dents in the market by targeting SMBs and remote branch offices looking to make a transition from standard firewalls to UTM application firewalls.
To do that, Netgear is introducing increasingly advanced features — such as forensic capabilities and NAS integrations — into lower market products with the aim of pushing competitive boundaries. But like most UTM appliances, Netgear’s ProSecure UTM S line also incorporates tried and true capabilities such as application control/application firewall, anti-malware for e-mail and web browsing, as well as spam and content filtering. It also touts an SPI firewall and VPN tunnels using either IPSec or SSL, along with multi-WAN capability for load balancing and failover connectivity.
Meanwhile, in addition to beefing up security capabilities, Netgear is likely hoping to achieve a bit of an edge by addressing latency issues inherent in many UTM devices that target lower markets, specifically with the introduction of a new Stream Scanning platform designed to analyze data streams as they enter the network.
The new appliance is currently available along with a 30-day free trial through the firm’s PowerShift partners and DMR channels.
“Because of the always increasing amount of latency-sensitive Web traffic, combining enterprise-grade security into a traditional all-in-one firewall platform has proven a daunting challenge,” said Peter Newton, Netgear senior director of product management for the commercial business unit. “We developed the UTM25S as a direct result of customer feedback. It fills a strategic gap for customers that require all of the features of our UTM9S appliance, but have a higher volume of Internet traffic to manage.”
It’s no secret that the UTM market has enjoyed the spoils of a strong growth trajectory in recent years, which doesn’t seem to be set for a slowdown any time soon. As previously mentioned by Channelnomics, the UTM submarket is projected to remain one of the strongest drivers behind the growth of the overall network security industry – a market estimated to be worth $10.1 billion by 2016, according to IDC.
For perspective, UTM totaled 27.8 percent of the security appliance market as the result of 19 percent growth during the second quarter of 2012, dwarfing other product areas such as IPS, content management and VPN, according to IDC.
That said, there area lot of players vying for position in the space, and Netgear, like numerous others, is attempting to find its place among giants.
However, while ostensibly UTM is designed to cater to the SMB, some of the most prolific players in this space, such as Cisco Systems Inc., Fortinet, Inc., Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. and WatchGuard, Inc., have increasingly catered to either large enterprises or mid-market segments.
And while vendors are making concerted efforts around the SMB space, that still leaves a lot of room downstream. Thus, where Netgear has and will likely continue to carve out its UTM niche is by focusing solely on the smallest of the SMB markets—a segment that has growing security needs but few, if any, resources, expertise and infrastructure to do so.
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