WatchGuard aims for Enterprise Grade Security for SMBs and Distributed Enterprises

Interview with Prakash Punjwani, CEO – WatchGuard Technologies

WatchGuard Technologies is a global provider of network security and network intelligence products and services. In an exclusive interaction with Dataquest, WatchGuard’s CEO Prakash Panjwani speaks on the current security scenario in India and the company’s solutions to mount a counteroffensive against the threats.

How do you see the security landscape in India particularly in the light of Digital India, Demonetization and GST?

I believe the market for internet services in India — and related needs such as security —is among the most interesting in the world. It has two very different phenomena driving the market, and it will be fascinating to see how the market shakes out over time.

The first phenomenon is the government-led initiative driving the country towards a digital economy. India, by far, has the most active Central government when it comes to IT initiatives. I have not seen that anywhere in the world. This is very positive, and will result in India being a global leader in offering G2C services via the internet. This will also lead to faster adoption of digital payment services in India. But, a digital India will create a wealth of security challenges at a massive scale, ranging from authentication of users and machines, to stronger network security, to secure communication to data encryption. This is good for the security industry.

The second phenomenon is the lack of drive from the private sector. Big corporations aside, small and midsize business in India continue to lag in terms of technology adoption. They are constrained for resources, and that leads to technology implementations – be it for security or otherwise – that do not meet industry standards. At WatchGuard, it is our goal to help these organizations, and we are prepared to do so across all industry segments.

prakashWhat are the problems WatchGuard has tried to solve for its customers?

At WatchGuard, it is our mission to enable enterprise-grade security for SMBs and distributed enterprises, but in a way that is widely deployable. The key terms in that mission statement are – enterprise-grade security and widely deployable. Both are vital for our customers, who are constantly under the threat of ransomware and breaches. The increasing sophistication of these attacks means that customers need enterprise-grade security, but they cannot deal with enterprise-grade complexity and cost. WatchGuard provides SMBs with a portfolio of security products — from the endpoint to the network — at a price they can afford, and that are easy to deploy, configure, and manage. Also, we have developed a track-record of innovating faster than any of our competitors. For example, we were the first ones to bring cloud sandboxing techniques for zero day malware detection to SMBs, and just this year, we were the first ones to bring true correlation between the end point and the network.

Are Indian organizations willing to shell for security after a spate of ransomware and other incidents in the recent past?

That is a very good question. This goes back to the two market phenomena which are challenging India. We see a big gap between what Government is willing to spend on security versus the security spend of small to medium businesses. The latter have to realize that security is now a fundamental budgetary line-item for any company. I am confident this will happen, and that government initiatives will ultimately help the small to medium organizations, as well as more security solutions will be available in the market.

What are the security solutions organizations need to take as top priority?

We strongly believe that organizations must build a layered defense strategy. True layered security means deploying a broad range of security services that prevent and detect new threats, and offer visibility into what is happening inside your network. As the main threat today is ransomware, you cannot focus solely on this threat. Rather, you have to solve everything from malware prevention to detection, to access to sensitive information. There is no single vendor that offers a “silver-bullet” solution, but for simplicity and efficacy, it is also critical that the services in your layered security defense operate in an integrated fashion. This is what is delivered by Unified Threat Management (UTM) solutions, as provided by WatchGuard, which is needed now more than ever before.

How strong is WatchGuard in the UTM space?

We have taken a very innovative approach to UTM, and have redefined the category during the last three years by expanding the set of services we provide. Industry organizations like Gartner and NSS have recognized our leadership in this space. Gartner positioned us as the only Visionary in its UTM magic quadrant for three years in a row. Similarly, NSS Labs also recommended our solution as we scored very high in their testing on both security efficacy and performance. Our superior customer and partner support also lead the industry. One of the most innovative services we launched recently is Threat Detection and Response (TDR). This service constantly monitors events within the enterprise, correlates these events in conjunction with third-party intelligence, and also helps remediate events that we see as becoming malicious over time. We hide much of the complexity behind the service from the end user so that they can rest easy while we are working on their behalf. It truly resonates with our tag line – Smart Security, Simply Done.

Who are your partners in India? How does your partner help you tap the market?

Since we are 100% channel company, we rely heavily on distribution partners. For India, we aligned with RoundRobin Tech Services a couple of years ago, and appointed them as our master distributor. We have enjoyed a strong relationship with them and are committed to helping them develop a partner network for us in India. We have also maintained a very loyal partner community across the nation. These partners are uniquely suited to bring complete business solutions, including cyber security, to their clients. Our mutual clients come in all sizes, from local retailers and merchants to nationwide banks and cooperatives, and everywhere in between. In spite of changing our go-to- market strategy in India a couple of years ago, our channel has stayed loyal and we have managed to increase our business across India, proving the quality and reliability of our products.

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