A Canadian security appliance maker is overhauling its channel program while releasing its latest products into the increasingly competitive security device market.

BorderWare Technologies Inc. began selling three versions of its second generation MXtreme Mail Firewall Appliance 3.0 last month,

an all-in-one box that combines a firewall with anti-spam and anti-virus software.

Prices range from $10,000 to $60,000 depending on the number of users.

It’s one of the few that combines three intrusion detection technologies in one unit.

The Mississauga, Ont. company’s line also include security servers and document gateways.

Intrustion detection is becoming increasingly important to companies as spam and virues multiply.

But the security appliance category is seeing entries from giants like Symantec Corp. and the McAfee division of Network Associates joining startups like Alladin, SonicWall and CipherTrust.

“It’s certainly a challenge,” Jim Hurley, vice-president and managing director of the information security practice at the Aberdeen Group of Boston, said of fighting big name companies. “Brand awareness certainly has something to do with the success of a larger organization, as does channel reach.”

“On the other hand, there are opportunities for small companies in some markets and industries, where smaller suppliers are not only welcome but preferred.”

“We’ve been moving very aggressively to broaden the distribution channels of our products,” counters John Alsop, BorderWare’s president and CEO. For example, Sun Microsystems sells the MXtreme as the Sun iForce Mail Firewall, while St. Bernard Software Inc. of San Diego sells it as the ePrism Mail Filter.

BorderWare has also partnered with a potential competitor, Cisco Systems, which has certified its products within its network architecture. Cisco, anti-spam software vendor Brightmail Inc. and BorderWare are also teaming up on an eight-city North American roadshow to push their products to customers and resellers.

Meanwhile, Alsop said BorderWare is “moving very aggressively” on channel expansion, including an advertising and marketing campaign in U.S. networking magazines. The current three-tier channel is being collapsed into two levels. Resellers who are prepared to make an annual sales committment will get “an extremely high level of support,” said Alsop. Those who can’t may not get the same marketing help and product price discounts, he said.

No date has been set for announcing the new channel program.

At the same time, BorderWare has added a direct sales staff because some customers prefer buying from manufacturers, he said. However, resellers involved in a deal closed by company staff will be “completely compensated.

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