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Local Check Point channel leading way with new threat-as-a-service offerings

By Heather Wright
Mon 31 Oct 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Check Point Software Technologies’ New Zealand and Australian partners will be the first in the world to spin up new threat-as-a-service offerings, providing commercialised threat cloud services to local organisations.

Keith Holtham, Check Point Software Technologies ANZ emerging technologies lead, says two Kiwi partners and three Australian partners are spinning up the new businesses in adjunct to the as-a-service offerings that they already bring to market.

“Customers can purchase threat capability like they do any other cloud service, or can opex threat capability for the organisation through a shared service provider,” Holtham says.

“TaaS means the service provider in their data center hosts threat appliances that are then domained up for multiple customers so there is protection of data integrity between customers, there’s no transfer of data across customers.

“It means they can sell a scalable service because they can add and remove capacity as the customer requires.”

Holtham says the offerings – the first in the world for Check Point – are ‘very similar to the Amazon and Azure models’.

Check Point’s Israeli head quarters team is working with one Kiwi organisations around commercialising their offering ‘and looking at that as becoming the best practice for an additional avenue to taking threat to market’, he says.

“The conversation around IT has been IoT and as a service and cloud for a few years now and resellers and channel partners are really looking at innovative ways to take that to market.”

Holtham says the new offerings were driven by the channel partners, who approached Check Point to discuss doing it.

“The guys in head office were very very keen to explore how we could do it and we’re now at the point where we’re looking at taking that to market, initially in New Zealand and as an adjunct to that we’ve got partners in Australia who are working to do exactly the same thing,” Holtham says.

“Channel-based threat as a service through a managed service provider or managed service partner is a great value add offering and one that is really being home grown in this part of the world.”

While Holtham couldn’t reveal specifics of the new offerings, he says one of the Australian partners is focused on the education market, where it says the offering as being highly relevant.

“They have been doing security-as-a-service for a few years now, specifically for the education market, and they are champing at the bit to bring this to market.

“They see it as a huge offering to both their education customers but also for their broader customer base, including healthcare.”

Holtham says the new offerings will tie well to the healthcare markets, where demand for opex based technology spin-ups is ‘very quickly increasing’.

“It’s about doing more with less. People are going off and doing skunkworks projects.

“[But] as mandatory reporting and data privacy concerns become more and more of an issue, they’ve got to deliver some threat prevention or threat emulation capability around that.

“It’s an adjunct to that, enabling them to be able to spin up the appropriate controls around skunkworks projects without exposing the organisation to greater risk.”

Holtham says the new offerings are ‘a real change in the way advanced security is being offered to the market by the channel’.

“Australia and New Zealand have always had very innovative partners and that’s why we develop a lot of our programs from a worldwide basis with Australia and New Zealand in mind – because we know that if something is innovative and it has the potential to bring new technologies to market, the ANZ channel will most often be at the forefront of it.”

The move to threat-as-a-service comes as Check Point’s early acceptance program for its anti-ransomware technology gathers steam across Australia and New Zealand.

The anti-ransomware offering, which will be included in its SandBlast Agent offering for the endpoint, aims to help tackle a huge area of concern for many ANZ businesses. Australia and New Zealand are ranked second and third globally for ransomware attacks.

“If the user is offline and sticks a USB key containing malicious content into their machines, we can roll the machine back to the pre-infection state, which is a huge saving for IT and as part of a managed service offering from a channel partner is of huge value,” Holtham says.

“The traditional way of coping with a compromised endpoint would have been to rebuild the machine.

“With anti-ransomware we’re able to not only roll the machine back to the pre-infection state, we’re able to automate the process from an IT perspective.”

As soon as an infected computer connects back to the internet – and therefore are automatically reconnected to the threat environment – it is quarantined and prevented from transmitting the infection onto the network while IT works on it.

The anti-ransomware offering will be included in SandBlast Agent from December and will be rolled out as a no-cost update.

Holtham says while it won’t bring resellers extra income, it provides ‘a great additional tool to help them sell SandBlast Agent and also the managed services that go around that.

“We’re strongly focused on helping the channel build their value added services – the consulting services and implementation services around the endpoint, and integrating that back into the overall security management of the organisation.

“That’s why we’ve introduced the [SandBlast advanced technologies] technical certification program – to give the channel a tool to sell those professional services with people with a recognised qualification.”

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