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Network security is an increasingly popular market for VARs and at the top of the 2010 “must-buy” list for many enterprises in diverse industries. Channel Insider sits down with network security vendor Bradford Network’s CEO Gregg Bjork to discuss the changing network security landscape and proven, successful strategies for VARs looking to grow their network security business.

What are some of the new security threats enterprises are facing today?
I think the best way to answer this question is to just take a look at how continually an enterprise’s computing landscape is changing.  If you stop and think about it, every time a new mobile user accesses the network, every time a new device is added to the network, every time a user shares a machine, there are vulnerabilities being introduced that constantly threaten the security of the network.   Weekly, daily, hourly, there are new threats being devised to endanger networks. Certainly the proliferation of mobile devices – Blackberries, iPhones, netbooks – has exacerbated this problem.

What has changed in the market over the past year?
In the past, security threats came from outside the corporate network. We see today’s security threats coming from everywhere – from the WAN, from inside and outside the firewall, in the DMZ, and from within the corporate network itself.  Another difference is that where threats used to be targeted to bring the network down, now we see clever intruders who want to keep the network up and running so they can steal valuable information while they remain undetected.

Over the years, security issues have been addressed with specific products designed to solve specific security issues.  While a specific threat may be addressed with these siloed solutions, the on-going need to adapt to new threats has not.  That’s why a dynamic approach to network security threats – one that is vendor agnostic and transcends traditional silos – provides organizations with greater flexibility.

How does Bradford address those concerns?
With our Adaptive Network Security platform, we’ve been able to provide our customers with a way to dynamically and intelligently recognize friends and foes on the network, guests on the network, devices on the network, and suspicious behavior on the network, and automate actions that prevent security breaches from occurring.  By integrating and correlating network resources, user information, and device information to automate security and IT operations, we can utilize the security systems already in place and provide an intelligent and adaptive approach to network security.

You sell 100% through the channel so you count on your VARs for all your business. What kind of programs do you offer?
We just recently introduced our SecureNet Partner Program that offers some great benefits for our VARs, Integrators, Consultants and Master VARs.   With specific programs designed to maximize Bradford’s reach within each type of partner, we feel we’ve created a program to suit each need.
The SecureNet Partner Program was designed to make Bradford products easy and profitable to resell. It also empowers our partners with the knowledge and tools to successfully sell, install and integrate our products. We provide sales and technical assistance to our partners, and put a lot of effort into recruiting and developing highly qualified and experienced partners. Our focus is on fewer, high-quality relationships that ultimately yield greater benefits for both Bradford and our partners and provide better results for customers.
Some of the benefits Bradford provides in the SecureNet Program include: margin opportunities, marketing and sales materials, sales and technical training, and pre- and post-sales support.  In return, Partners bring their sales expertise and coverage, their services capabilities, and their implementation skills.

Who are some of your most successful VARs and why have they been so successful in this market?
Two of our most successful VARs are Khipu Networks in the UK and Classic Networking in the US. Both of these VARs have been successful because they’ve truly become extensions of Bradford’s own sales force, completely knowledgeable and certified on our technology and processes. Additionally, both VARs had existing network and security expertise that they combined with their delivery skills to provide complete solutions – software, hardware, services and support . That enhances their value – and Bradford’s –  to prospective customers and keeps existing customers satisfied. Also, both Khipu and Classic were quick to realize the advantages of providing adaptive network security to their customers.  Customers are constantly struggling with the dynamic nature of their computing landscape. With Bradford, our VARs are able to provide enhanced security with greater accessibility, an ideal combination for both network users and administrators.  As a result, both VARs are continually uncovering new customers, enhancing existing customers’ security and realizing a nice return on their investment in Bradford with high margins, additional services revenue, and repeat business.

Do you see more VARs entering this market? Why?
What we’re seeing is more VARs who are taking a serious look at the entire network security picture.  As they’re doing that, many have identified Bradford as a key player in their network security strategy.  Our Adaptive Network Security platform provides VARs the opportunity to add real depth to their product offering, and provide customers with the visibility and control needed to truly secure their networks.  More VARS are entering this market, and are attracted to Bradford because of the additional services and implementation opportunities that we open up them. 

What do you see as the biggest industries for your solution? Why?
From our inception, Bradford has had a strong customer base in the education market. When you think about the security challenges that college and universities, school districts and private schools face with new enrollments each semester, the education market had ongoing needs driven by student demand to provision network usage, assign role-based privileges, and keep the network secure but accessible.  We now see the same security urgencies emerging within healthcare environments and, in fact, with any customers bound by regulatory requirements.  Our roots in the education market give us an advantage in other industries – educational environments have an incredibly high diversity of users and networked devices to be secured. The lessons we’ve learned there can be applied directly in many other environments.