BitDefender scans Canadian security market

A security firm that made international headlines for helping to spot the Trojans in Sony’s copy-protected CDs is searching more channel partners to grow its business in Canada.

BitDefender on Monday announced the opening of its first Canadian office in Toronto and the appointment of John Herrington as its local channel development manager. A division of Romanian-based Softwin, BitDefender’s portfolio is made up of more than 20 products including desktop and e-mail anti-virus tools, as wekk as security software for Windows, Linux and Unix file servers. BitDefender’s Hive scanning service detected the second variant of the malicious malware that uses Sony’s digital rights management technology to hide itself.

In October, a BitDefender executive told Computer Dealer News the company was looking for distributors to get its products into retail and the small and medium enterprise segment. Herrington said the company is in the final stages of working out a North American-wide distribution deal with Synnex, which has Canadian offices in Etobicoke, Ont. The company works with about five Canadian VARs today, Harrington added, but is hoping to expand that considerably.

“The awareness is there. The challenges in Canada is really from a launch standpoint in terms of how we’re positioned,” Herrington said, adding that Sony’s “rootkit” fiasco give the firm tremendous publicity. “It was through that (HiVE) technology that we were able to pick a virus that was essentially undetectable to our competitors.”

Herrington, who came to BitDefender following stints at Tech Data and SonicWall, said he first encountered the firm while doing some consulting work for one of Canada’s largest telecommunications providers. He said he’s hoping to aim BitDefender products at more telcos and particularly the 340 ISPs with a relatively large customer base.

“A lot of them are starting to change their model to become more of a reseller of technology,” he said. “Today, for example, a number of ISPs are purchasing DSL or broadband and reselling it and probably not making a great deal of money doing it.” 

Darrell May, owner of Tallgrass Ranch in Hazelride, Man., has been offering BitDefender’s Linux products in Canada. He said some of BitDefender’s competitors may have beaten the firm in attracting ISPs.

“That’s a pretty entrenched market already. Everyone is already approaching those companies. I don’t know one that doesn’t have some kind of deal in place.”

BitDefender’s marketing in North America has been poor so far, May said, adding a North American-wide distribution deal could help the firm considerably. From a product perspective, it has everything it needs to take on Symantec or McAfee, he said.

“There’s a huge breadth of products – Windows workstations, Exchange, ISS server. Everything Microsoft puts out, they’ve got something to offer,” he said.

BitDefender came under fire in March when GFI, a U.S. Microsoft reseller that uses BitDefender’s products for scanning e-mail, trashed thousands of its customers’ e-mail messages after trying to install BitDefender updates on its customers’ networks. The company said it has since rectified the problem.

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