MONTREAL — One Canadian value-added distributor says its recent deal with a security vendor will help VARs introduce intrusion protection solutions into the Canadian market.

At yesterday’s Solution Provider Breakaway event, Interwork Technologies Inc.’s Kelley Bush, based in Ottawa, told CDN her company’s decision to sign up San Jose, Calif.-based Entercept Security Technolgies will give Canadian VARs another offering for their customers — one that claims to stop hackers before the damage is done.

Bush called intrusion detection and prevention two of today’s hottest security topics. “Firewall and VPN are still definitely in demand out there — but people are starting to realize that 80 to 90 per cent of security breaches are happening internally.” VPN and firewalls protect the network from the outside, but don’t shield it from inside intrusion, she said.

The next level of security — intrusion detection — can help determine what’s going on internally on servers in the networks that house valuable data. But that only detects what has already occurred.

“The new generation is called intrusion prevention,” she continued. “It sandboxes (or isolates) activities to determine whether or not they are activities that are questionable. Then the technology will either let the activity go on in the network or it won’t.”

As Entercept’s only Canadian VAD, Interwork will help the security vendor develop a channel program that includes training and certification. Bush was not sure at this point whether there will be any fees for education, but added that a back-end rebate will be offered to make up the cost after the first product sale.

“Those reseller partners that are certified will get training and they will get a higher discount than those that do not. And they’ll get recognized for the commitment they are willing to make,” she said.

Sales support, including joint sales meetings, conference calls and lead generation, will also be areas where Interwork gets involved, said Bush. Although final channel program details have not yet been determined, Bush said Entercept’s program will likely divide resellers into two tiers.

In the meantime, Interwork plans to expand its presence in the US, after focusing mostly on the Canadian market for the last eight years.

Partnerships with companies like Entercept are tied in with this overall plan, said Bush.

Part of Interworks’ strategy for helping VARs dip into the security market involves training them to determine customer needs and then offer complete solutions — not just point products.

“When you’re looking to start talking about offering security solutions, it’s really easy to fall into the role of offering piecemeal solutions, versus going in and talking to customers about overall security requirements, helping them develop policy and then putting products and services together,” said Bush. “Customers respect that a lot more than when you just try to throw a single point solution at them. That’s when you get a lot of hesitation and push back.”

With proper training on how to put together tailored solutions, resellers will be able to take advantage of what Bush foresees as tremendous growth in security. Recalling an article she recently read which stated that most companies still allocate a larger percentage of their budgets to coffee rather than to security, Bush said the market is bound to grow.

“There’s a lot of talk, a lot of publicity, a lot of evaluations,” she said. “But there are still companies that aren’t well-protected.

The market’s just at the cusp of going pretty large. So I think it’s a pretty good place to be.”

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