Secure Computing considering New Zealand office

Within a year the company will offer a smaller hardware firewall, targeted at the SME market

Secure Computing, a vendor of firewalls, access filtering and authentication tools, is experiencing fast business growth in the Pacific region, and with increasing attention to the small and medium enterprise end of the market, it’s time it had some staff on the ground in New Zealand, says Australia-New Zealand country manager Eric Krieger.

The Minneapolis-based company has until now run the New Zealand market from Brisbane, where is has 26 staff, with an additional five in Sydney. “I am considering seriously whether we should have a base here,” he says. MPA is its local distributor and will continue in that role, Krieger expects.

Secure Computing provides protection to some of the largest corporations in the US as well as to the US government’s National Security Agency. It is growing by acquisition and adding more capabilities into its repertoire as it goes. Its most recent acquisition is CyberGuard, provider of proxy-based application-level firewalls, which deeply investigate transmitted and received packets and determines whether a trusted application created them, rather than simply filtering based on source address.

CyberGuard was formerly one of Secure Computing’s strongest competitors, and the acquisition doubles Secure Computing’s customer base in New Zealand, says Krieger.

CyberGuard’s firewall capabilities, including its handling of VoIP its centralised control of a number of firewalls and its high security classification, make it an attractive product line to merge with Secure Computing’s own in a project known as Snowbird, says Krieger.

“We have sold to the enterprise market for many years,” says Krieger, but within a year the company will have a hardware firewall in a “smaller form factor” in the $2000 range, directed at the SME market — the overwhelming majority of companies in New Zealand.

Security and acceptable use of computers is a company-wide matter, with concern reaching beyond IT into finance, top management and human resources, Krieger says.

Use of work computers for personal interests, while often tolerated, can become a drain on finances and lead to complaints of harassment between employees if allowed to get out of control.

On a mainstream security front, Krieger is concerned at the apparently lax attitude of banks affected by phishing and similar fraudulent activity, who appear willing to stand “small” losses in reimbursing affected customers, rather than ramp up security by providing two-factor authentication.

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