McAfee Inc. is increasing its efforts to move from relying on sales of antivirus software to pushing its security appliances and content management applications with a “try and buy” deal.

Starting next month the company’s partners will

be able to offer customers a 30-day trial of its IntruShield, Foundstone appliances and WebShield software before they have to pay.

The company also announced an improved phone and online hotline for partners and an expansion of the ability of partners to get software to test before selling.

“In the past larger enterprises wanted to evaluate equipment because they make large purchases,” Jack Sebbag, McAfee’s Canadian vice-president and general manager, said in explaining the ‘Try it before you buy it’ program.

“Now we’re making it available to SMB customers as well.”IntruShield is a line of six network intrusion protection devices, the Foundstone FS1000 is a risk and vulnerability scanner, while WebShield SMTP is a gateway antivirus and antispam application.

It’s an approach that at least one McAfee VAR believes will be successful.

“I think it’s good marketing,” said Glen Emo, president and CEO of Empowered Networks, a Pickering, Ont. communications test and network management solutions provider which sells IntruShield. It has five offices across the country.

“Certainly security continues to be a hot item,” he said. Letting customers try hardware and software is a way McAfee is “putting their money where their mouth is.”

“This could give (buyers) a chance to test fly product in their own environment before putting their money down,” he said.

Sebbag believes most McAfee resellers who handle these products will take advantage of the program, which has no time limitation. Generally, customers will be limited to one of each product unless it shows it needs more. VARs only have to put in a request for a product to McAfee’s new MAX Hotline Web site and it will be shipped to customers.

The company is also creating what it calls Security Action Packs for its associate partners to test selected McAfee software and hardware for up to a year. It’s hoped partners will be able to improve sales if they’re thoroughly knowledgeable about the products.

Action Packs include a 12-month licence for up to 20 nodes of fully-featured desktop, server and management products.

MAX Hotline is a an improved partner management system which includes better toll free phone and online service thanks to the hiring of 20 support staff in Canada alone, said Sebbag (although they will also serve U.S. resellers).

“It gives resellers an opportunity to do all kinds of things online, from the try and buy program to Security Action Packs to registering deals to getting quotes,” he said, as well as contact technical support.Until now support was a “pretty informal and manual process,” Sebbag said.

Included in the changes is an adjustment to the Opportunity Registration program. The minimum new deal that can be registered has been dropped to US$1,000 for IntruShield, Entercept, WebShield, Foundstone and E-Business Server products.


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