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Watchguard developing its UTM presence

01 Nov 2007

Watchguard has gone through significant changes in the last 12 months.  Previously a publically-held company, Watchguard was acquired last year by two venture capital firms – Francisco Partners and Vector Capital.  The company’s ANZ executive team was completely replaced, and along with other global offices, the team is expanding.  A current worldwide staff of 350 is expected to reach 400 by year’s end, and the ANZ team will soon total four.  Scott Robertson took over as Regional Director, ANZ, in May of this year, and he sees excellent growth potential in the SME market.  “The recent changes have been good for Watchguard,” said Robertson.  “We have an entrepreneurial start-up mentality with a very profitable financial base.”  The company is currently investing in people and products, and is long-sighted in terms of its growth and direction.  Unified Threat Management (UTM) is undoubtedly a hot topic, and Watchguard plays in that space against competitors such as Fortinet, SonicWALL, Cisco, and Juniper.  “What differentiates us from our competition is that we provide a full range of security solutions and we are model upgradeable.  Our competition use packet filter technology and we use proxy architecture, offering zero day protection.  Watchguard was the first company to take a software firewall solution and develop it into a robust hardware solution,” Robertson explained.  Watchguard is currently working to build leads for New Zealand partners, and is looking to expand their NZ partner base.  “We do have a good history here, but we’ve been a little quiet.  We’re on a recruitment drive,” stated Robertson.Robertson and the rest of the “local” Watchguard team are based in Sydney, but are committed to visiting New Zealand one to two times per quarter.  If partners need more frequent visits, Robertson said they are prepared to help.  Goals for the coming year include stabilising Watchguard’s partnership model, developing key relationships with partners who support and understand the technology, and extending the company’s arm by offering full support.