Fluke looks to tackle malware and spyware

Recognizing the growing impact that malware, spyware and viruses are having on network connectivity and performance, Fluke Networks has released an enhancement to its NetTool Series II Inline Network Tester to tackle the problem right at the desktop.

The vendor says the new enhancement, dubbed NetSecure, will enable network administrators to test for malware and spyware when troubleshooting network problems, eliminating previous trial and error approaches.

“It’s going to give the network technician the ability to isolate and quickly fix performance issues on the network,” said James Huber, channel manager for Mississauga, Ont.-based Fluke Networks Canada.

While Fluke would compete here with vendors like McAfee on the software side, Huber said what sets Fluke apart from the marketplace is that, unlike its competitors, NetTool is a handheld device.

“You can go right to the source of the issue, right to the desktop that’s having the issue, go inline and zero right-in on the issue,” said Huber. “I think that’s our advantage.”

On the channel front, Huber said it has been a busy year for Fluke in Canada. While Huber covers the Canadian channel for Fluke from his base in Calgary, in January Fluke hired Michael Cooper as the channel manager for Eastern Canada to help Huber grow the channel from Ontario-East.

“He’s done an excellent job enhancing our relationships, from the management perspective right down to the channel inside/outside people,” said Huber. “I think our relationships are stronger than ever.”

He added Fluke has also put a number of new programs in place to help the channel over the past year. One of them is its Point of Presence program, or POP.

Designed for Fluke’s low cost, high volume products, Huber said the program includes marketing materials and displays and is designed to get more Fluke products onto store shelves. Partners are incented to keep stock up with reward points. The program, launched in August, runs through late October.

“If the product is there, there can be an impulse buy, and we’ve seen tremendous uplift in those kinds of sales,” said Huber.

For Fluke’s higher end products, such as Etherscope and VPX, Fluke has launched the second edition of its Get to the Point program. This year the program is more comprehensive, said Huber, with all Fluke’s channels involved. Customers can get free products or cash rebates, and sales people that do demos and close sales can earn points. The highest point earners are rewarded with things like free travel certificates.

“These programs have really helped drive our channel business in the last 12 months,” said Huber. “More and more products are going through our channel. We enhance our products all the time, and the channel is excited about the new offerings.”

Looking to the future, Huber said Fluke is always looking to grow its market, and he adds that market seems to be changing as well.

“We see some of the larger telcos starting to contract more of their services out, and we need to make sure we’re engaged with the right channels,” said Huber. “There’s a lot of niche channels and niche markets out there we need to make sure we’re aligned with properly.”

He adds the situation with the Canadian dollar reaching parity with the U.S. dollar is also an ongoing challenge, and something Fluke will have to be on top of from a channel perspective, making sure partners are aware and helping to make sure customers continue to buy in Canada.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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