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Zscaler announced yesterday that it lured the vice president of service providers from web content security rival Bluecoat to perform the same job under its own banner.

The personnel move puts Craig Hicks-Frazer in charge of building relationships with service provider partners at Zscaler in the company’s bid to gain traction in the  within the content security and compliance markets. Hicks-Frazer helped build up the services channel at Blue Coat over his eight-year stint there. During his time with the UK-based company, he and his executive team managed to catapult Blue Coat business to the top of the heap in content security gateway appliances.

Infonetics Research analysts reported last month that during third quarter of 2009, Blue Coat led the content security gateway appliance market in share for the 11th straight quarter. And Gartner just last week placed Blue Coat in the leaders quadrant of its Magic Quadrant for Secure Web Gateway. 

Zscaler executives say they tapped Hicks-Frazer not only for his time at the market leader in the highly contested space that Zscaler plays, but also for his very specific experience liaising with the service provider community.

“Craig has a track-record of introducing new technologies and building the service provider business globally,” Jay Chaudhry, CEO and founder of Zscaler, said in a statement. “Craig’s experience and domain expertise will accelerate our growth in this important market segment around the world.”

For its part, Zscaler is currently sitting in Gartner’s visionaries quadrant for the secure web gateway market. Company leadership likely hopes that Hicks-Frazer can help improve Zscaler’s ability execute enough to garner Gartner’s esteem enough to be elevated to the leaders square.

Infonetics believes that the Content Security Gateway Appliance market will grow from $1.2 billion in 2009 to $1.9 billion in 2013 and that the Web and malware appliance niche will explode from $650 million to $1.03 billion during the same time period. Zscaler faces tough competition for those dollars, though, and not just from Blue Coat. The market offers a crowded field of competitors that include McAfee, Websense, Cisco, Symantec and Trend Micro.