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Barracuda Networks: From Viagra to storage

25 Jun 13

Storage is becoming a key component of Barracuda Networks business the company’s ANZ sales manager tells Heather Wright.

If it hadn’t been for Viagra, Barracuda Networks could well have been nothing more than an American ISP.

In fact, that’s how the company began: as an ISP. Then along came Viagra. Or more specifically, the huge volume of spam based around flogging that particular offering.

The then ISP took offence to paying to filter out all that spam, says Greg Douglas, Barracuda Networks sales manager ANZ.

So, rather than pay for the filtering, it built its own firewall appliance and Barracuda Networks, specialising in security, application delivery and data protection services, was born.

It’s a story Sydney-based Douglas clearly relishes telling and it’s one which illustrates that this company isn’t afraid to make the big changes.

The company is undergoing something of a change again, albeit on a much smaller scale, with Douglas saying storage, or more specifically back-up, has recently been outselling the company’s more traditional strongholds such as web security and firewalls.

“It’s been a real surprise for us,” says Douglas.

The company’s focus on growing its storage side was apparent in its November 2012 appointment of William ‘BJ’ Jenkins as chief executive.

Jenkins was previously president of EMC’s backup recovery systems division.

New offerings

Barracuda recently launched Copy – cloud storage which integrates with the company’s other appliances.

While there’s no financial gain for resellers, Douglas says it is a good value add for local resellers to offer.

“You can snap it on to enhance the offering and make it easier to sell,” says Douglas, who dubs Copy a ‘corporate Dropbox’, with sophisticate security features.

“It’s a way resellers can help ensure customers can access and protect their data, leveraging the cloud offerings.”

In February the company also launched a new firewall ‘with a full next-generation feature set’ for small and mid-sized organisations. Again, the offering leverages the cloud for centralised management and content filtering, and ‘elasticity’.

“We’re letting the cloud do all the heavy lifting,” says Douglas.

“Customers are looking to bring security closer to infrastructure and utilise the cloud to a greater degree.”

It hasn’t all been a bed of roses however. Earlier this year Barracuda hit the news for all the wrong reasons, when it was found that backdoor accounts in some networking and security appliances, originally intended for remote
support, could have allowed hackers to gain access.

The company moved quickly to acknowledge the flaw and issue a security alert.

Meanwhile, on the local front, Barracuda bolstered its distribution late last year, with WhiteGold joining Eagle as the Kiwi distributors.

Douglas says the move brings New Zealand in line with other regions where Barracuda has two distributors, and ensures partners have choice.

The company operates on a ‘strictly partner-distributor model’, with no direct sales and all renewals referred back to the channel partners, via the distributor.

While many vendors are culling their channel to focus on those that bring them the most return, Douglas says Barracuda ‘is pretty much opening its doors to all partners’.

So much so that any reseller can order product, even if they’re not a registered partner. “And they’ll still receive a generous margin.”

Douglas says the move is driven by customer demand.

“If someone sees another business using one of our products and want it themselves, but their reseller doesn’t handle Barracuda, we don’t want to block them from a sale.”

For resellers who do become registered partners there are ‘deep discounts, deal registration, and Barracuda University training on offer, along with co-operative funding intiatives for things like marketing and trade shows.

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