Blue Coat looks to build SMB presence with ProxyOne launch

Blue Coat Systems is looking to expand its market presence in the SMB world with the launch of the ProxyOne security appliance, a small business-focused version of its ProxySG enterprise security product.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based security and WAN optimization vendor sees it as an opportunity for channel partners to expand a solution lineup they’ve been offering to their enterprise customers to the familiar territory of smaller businesses.

“ProxyOne is a purpose-built appliance that brings our enterprise malware protection to smaller business,” said Sasi Murthy, senior director of product marketing for Blue Coat.

The company aims to replace small business UTM and firewall solutions that Murthy says haven’t scaled with the explosion of Web-based malware, and along with inline antivirus offers some unique features on which Blue Coast is betting.

“In this segment, we’ve seen 40 to 50 per cent of these businesses are not even using URL filtering,” Murthy said. “We’re looking to address key pain points that these businesses have.”

One of those pain points is performance. Murthy jokes that “security should never get in the way of performance,” and by integrating Web and even video caching in the appliance, Murthy said ProxyOne can actually offer “a perceptible improvement” on customers’ networks.

ProxyOne also tackles the growing challenge of security in the social media world, allowing employers control of what users can and cannot do with popular services. So you can use Facebook for business purposes, but maybe FarmVille is off limits.

“That kind of granular control of social media is very impactful and a real differentiator for us,” Murthy said.

The product has actually been available to channel partners since late November for training and testing purposes, but is now generally available through distribution. Blue Coast works with distributors Westcon, Arrow and Computerlinks in Canada, Murthy said. The company currently has about 10 Canadian resellers involved with ProxyOne.

As evidenced by that lead-time, a big part of the launch has been enabling and on-boarding solution providers for ProxyOne. Murthy said the company has a number of channel enablement programs and training offerings including video to help partners get up to speed.

Part of that effort is a Try and Buy program, the ability for partners to purchase an appliance for a qualified opportunity for 90 per cent off, install it on a customer’s location for 30 days at no cost. If the customer decides to go with the appliance, it’s as simple for the partner as enabling the subscription on the already in-place appliance. The partner makes the same margin on that appliance and subscription as it would on any other. Should the customer not go forward, the partner returns the appliance and gets credit for it. Murthy said partners typically make the same margins as they make on the company’s enterprise products, including bonuses for opportunity registration.

“It limits partners’ liability and lets them show the value the appliance can provide,” Murthy said.

The products also represent something of a recurring revenue opportunity – the system only works as long as the subscription is current, meaning that VARs earn ongoing revenues for renewals.

The company is primarily engaging with its current base of channel partners for its enterprise products, Murthy said, although it is looking to “strategically grow” the channel in the SMB space. It is not currently set up to fit into a managed services environment, but Murthy said that’s something Blue Coat is eyeing for the future.

The product has a strong Canadian connection, said Murthy, herself a Canadian expat. The product was developed in the company’s Waterloo, Ont. development facility.