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This week the web security firm SmoothWall announced a new web filtering appliance that it hopes channel partners selling within the education sector can leverage to add greater value to protection initiatives.

The Secure Web Gateway-1200  is set for release to the North American channel in January at the annual FETC education technology conference. SmoothWall hopes the newest edition to its portfolio will give the company a boost within larger schools and school districts looking for ways to cleanse the Web for students.

"What this really does for the channel is it gives them a lot more opportunities to bring in more complex networks and larger clients with less need for hardware," says Chris Bragan, US channel manager for SmoothWall,  "and, really, what it does is it gives clients the capability to get the big large package that we offer without paying for all that extra overhead."

The product is powered by SmoothWall’s Guardian filtering technology, which has gained considerable share within UK and US schools who use it to block proxies, online games and also to manage bandwidth-hogging applications. The SWG-1200 is meant to harness the power of Guardian capabilities in a more manageable and cost-efficient appliance.

"The new appliance brings to these large schools the powere and the strength of our security product  that they couldn’t get in other products unless they spent a fortune," Bragan says.

According to Bragan, SmoothWall is currently in the process of overhauling its channel partners and has scheduled 2010 as a year for heavy channel recruitment.

"We are definitely looking to grow in 2010," he says. "We are refocusing on our channel. We are heavily leaning on our partners and supporting our partners now and we are bringing in bigger partners to really help grow the channel itself."

He says that prospective partners should keep their eyes peeled in January for further announcements about changes to the SmoothWall partner program.

"The partner program is going to include a lot more incentives, a lot better margins and be extremely partner-focused," Bragan says.