On the prowl for viruses and spam

BlueCat Networks was born three years ago out of brothers Michael and Richard Hyatt’s own frustrations to bring their domain name service server in-house easily and affordably.

At that time, Michael, the sales side of the operation, and Richard, the technical genius, were working for Dyadem,

which they own and is now BlueCat’s parent company.

“”The best companies are built out of necessity,”” said Michael, president of BlueCat.

“”Richard and I needed a DNS server and we built our own so we could do it a lot cheaper and a lot better.

“”Ours was so good that I said to Richard we could really come out with something that will knock the pants off the market.””

BlueCat now helps companies across Canada and the U.S. fight spam and viruses with its Adonis DNS Management Server and Meridius Security Gateway products.

The company’s aim is to provide corporations with a simple, secure and affordable way to improve network security and reduce IT costs.

“”In 2004, 80 per cent of all traffic is going to be spam,”” said Michael. “”Eight out of ten e-mails coming to a network is junk.””

BlueCat’s Adonis DNS Management Sever uses a Java -based console to help a system administrator easily and securely configure the device from Unix and Windows environments in minutes.

Its other product, Meridius Security Gateway server, also uses Java as well as Linux to provide Windows, Solaris, Macintosh or Linux clients multi-level protection against spam and viruses.

BlueCat recently announced an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) agreement with Commtouch Inc., an anti-spam solutions developer and provider, letting BlueCat offer Commtouch’s spam detection engine on its Meridius appliance.

The engine has the ability to identify spam regardless of language, content or format, said Hyatt, citing a 100 per cent rate of catching junk mail.

Users of BlueCat’s products range from school boards to military groups to a significant number of Fortune 500 firms.

BlueCat recently added Calgary-based CDG Inc., Mainline Computer Products, Proactive Network Management, and Waytek Inc. to its small community of resellers in Canada.

Other resellers here include Contego Information Security Solutions in Toronto and Gordian Data Inc. in south-west Ontario.

Despite BlueCat’s success with companies like CDG, the bulk of its business remains in the U.S.

‘The market size down there is bigger and a lot of American companies tend to be adopters and are more open to this kind of thing,”” said Patrick Inwood, channel manager for BlueCat.

“”Plus, they get hit with a lot of security concerns first.””

But Inwood believes new partner Interwork Technologies, a value-added distributor, will provide the North American reseller channel with BlueCat’s network management solutions.

“”We chose Interwork as a partner and distribution base because they have a strong group of resellers that are security focused,”” he said.

In the next 16 to 18 months, Inwood said BlueCat is looking to get between 10 to 15 more partners in its Canadian channel program.

“”I don’t think it makes sense to have our resellers competing with each other in the same market space.

“”I’d rather have some strong, quality resellers working for us in specific geographies and territories.””

In terms of market share in North America, Michael likened it to a tornado.

“”With 200 active competitors in the anti-spam space, it’s very difficult to know what share you have.

“”The real question should be who is going to make it to main street,”” he said, predicting that anti-spam, like other industries, will eventually be consolidated into three to five players.

For now, Michael believes the company has something that’s as unique to the market as its name is to the ear.

“”I have a big, fat orange cat. Somehow orange cat didn’t make it. My brother said, ‘Well blue cat sounds good, so let’s do it.'””

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