SnapGear hunts for ISPs

A Utah manufacturer is having a tough time trying to broaden the channel for its virtual private network firewall appliances in Canada.

SnapGear Inc., which has a network of 25 resellers here, is trying to sign up co-location and hosting service providers with security expertise as another outlet

for its Linux-based products.

The model, which the company calls its managed security service program, has caught on in the U.S., with four regional providers already signed up. The idea is the providers bundle SnapGear VPNs as part of their service.

But Matthew Rodger, the company’s channel sales manager for the Americas, says lack of name recognition is proving to be quite a hurdle to the handful of service providers in Ontario and B.C . he’s talked to.

“”We say ‘We’re from SnapGear,’ and they say ‘What? Who?’ “”

He admits that much of the problem is that the bulk of SnapGear’s marketing effort has been spent in the U.S.

While it has an Ontario-based distributor in Paradigm Information Technologies, most Canadian SnapGear resellers buy from the manufacturer.

SnapGear also faces competition here from majors such as Cisco Systems, Symantec, WatchGuard and SonicWall.

Its products are aimed at small and medium businesses, as well as enterprises with branch offices.

However, Rodger said that even with a network of resellers in both countries sales aren’t going fast enough.

So the company hit upon the idea of using hosting providers who have demanding security standards such as requiring customers have a firewall as part of their solution. The monthly hosting fee it charges would include providing a SnapGear firewall for added protection.

“”We want to replicate that business model in Canada,”” said Rodger.

“”I see it as a very rich, lucrative market.””

For providers, SnapGear offers the usual discount – 25 per cent off hardware, 20 per cent off non-hardware items such as support contracts and extended warranties.

The company offers buyers unlimited user licences and free firmware updates.

But it’s taking time to convince providers north of the border. “”I’m working with a rather large data centre in Western Canada and it’s taking several months of dialogue, and they’re still in the evaluation phase,”” says Rodger.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com

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