Websense adds SurfControl to its portfolio

OTTAWA – Now that Web security and data leak prevention software developer Websense has officially acquired rival SurfControl, the company has set its sights on filling out its product line up and building more channel opportunity.

Websense closed its $408,742,767 acquisition of SurfControl yesterday.

Fiaaz Walji, country manager for Websense in Canada, said the company is looking at two ways to grow the business now that SurfControl is a part of the organization. The first is geographically and the second is to work with integration partners such as Cisco Systems, Microsoft and the Open Source community.

SurfControl, which was founded in the U.K., adds a managed services offering along with the Black Spider on-demand product for e-mail security.

“(SurfControl) was a third of our revenue and with the acquisition our resellers increase from 1,250 to 5,000,” Wajli said.

Also the number of subscription seats dramatically increased for Websense from 25 million to 41 million.

Market analyst Michelle Warren of Info-Tech Research, said the purchase of SurfControl opens up and strengthens Websense’s channel presence, both in the U.S. and in Canada.

“Their ability to deliver products to the SMB market is crucial to their success, especially within Canada, so as a result, this acquisition was an excellent move,” she said.

Walji said that in the U.S. filtering is a commodity, but it’s not in Canada. “And, with the acquisition of Port Authority (a leak prevention software developer Websense acquired last November) which keeps the good stuff in and the bad stuff out along with SurfControl we are adding to the channel opportunity,” Walji added.

Wynn Fenwick, manager of enabling systems engineering for CGI, agrees with Walji on the market opportunity created by a combined Websense and SurfControl.

“It is a mature technology, but one with lots of opportunity in the market. When you have a mature technology in a growing market people start to realize they can use Websense to drive savings by possibly postponing Internet and network upgrades, while increasing network bandwidth,” Fenwick said.

CGI’s managed security services, based in Ottawa, offered SurfControl before Websense entered the Canadian market, Fenwick said.

“We had SurfControl deployments in the past and CGI is technology agnostic because we want to deliver services that customers want. The market moved towards Websense and SurfControl became an alternative. Websense is probably 85 per cent of our Internet policy deployments today,” Fenwick said.

He added that SurfControl will enable Websense to have an Internet e-mail presence, which is something they did not have. CGI is also looking into what the new acquisition will bring to the table for them.

“With Google’s acquisition of Postini they are a competitor to CGI and now that Cisco acquired Ironport they will too be another technology supplier in the market with anti-spam on e-mail,” he added.

Fenwick said that CGI will be looking to Websense with SurfControl to give them a competitive advantage against these new players in the market.

“I think people will see this consolidation as Websense strengthening its position in the policy enforcement area and we hope they can help us with our business and get more deployments out there,” he said.

Walji said that the Canadian organization will be offering partners across the country free training and road shows.

Only Connexis was a SurfControl solution provider and they have already switched over to Websense, according to Walji. SurfControl had only one person running the operation in Canada. That person is now part of the Websense Canada team.

Websense has also created SMB versions of its products. Walji said that Websense Express will be for 500 seats and below. He believes the sweet spot for Canadian resellers will be in the 100 seats and below area.

“It is a smaller version. It is missing the high end reporting and forensics, but it is not a dumbed-down product. It is built from scratch for this market,” he said.

Warren said it was also strategic in its product offering especially with managed services, and on-demand software (through its Black Spider product) are definitely attractive to the SMB market. Enabling them an element of software/security control is an attractive option, and increasing appeals to their target client base.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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