Security vendor Astaro is launching a partner program for managed services providers with the intent of taking on established brands Sonic Wall and Check Point Software Technologies.

Astaro, based in Burlington, Mass., sells unified threat management software, which combines functions such as spyware protection, intrusion detection, virus protection for the Web and content filtering in a single platform.

The company’s philosophy, said Vice President of Sales Alex Quinonez, is that technology users should expect clean Internet connections just as they expect clean water to come out of their faucets.

Astaro already does business through the channel, he said, and is looking to expand its reach by tapping the popular managed services market. Through managed services, MSPs remotely monitor and manage parts or all of their customers’ IT environments, charging them utility-like fees for the services.

“We are a 100 percent-channel company. We have about 1,000 partners already worldwide,” Quinonez said, adding that 350 of those partners are in the United States.

MSPs that enroll in the Astaro program have the option of hosting the software from their own data centers for customers.

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Astaro also offers the option for partners to deploy the technology at customer sites either through a software-only solution or an appliance that includes the software, Quinonez said.

Customers that don’t want to buy the technology outright, can pay for it on a per-user, per-month basis. Quinonez said the Astaro Gateway Security solution is flexible and scalable, and has a starting price of less than $50 a month.

Many of the features integrated into the Astaro platform came from the open-source community, which is one of the things that attracted Sinewave Technologies, a solution provider in Carmel, Ind., to the vendor, said company President Dwight Wheeler. Sinewave, which itself has an open-source background, has been doing business with Astaro for about a year.

“We like the devices. They’re simple to use,” said Wheeler, who added he has been very happy with vendor’s partner support.

Astaro, he added, provides a lower-cost alternative to Cisco Systems’ security offerings, at a lower cost.

Quinonez said Astaro has dedicated a sales team to the managed services partner effort, and the company is planning to launch some marketing campaigns to raise awareness of its MSP program.

Astaro already has business arrangements with managed services platform vendors N-able Technologies, SilverBack Technologies and Level Platforms. Partners using those platforms have the option of procuring Astaro’s solution from the vendor’s distribution partner, Synnex, and integrate it into the platforms.

To qualify for the Astaro managed services partner program, providers must complete a certification process. As certified partners, they will receive for free the Astaro Command Center, a graphical tool that provides centralized management of Astaro Security Gateway installations of more than five systems.