ZyXEL looks to expand partner opportunities with next-gen UTM systems

Steven Joe, executive vice president for channel business for Americas at ZyXEL.

Steven Joe, executive vice president for channel business for Americas at ZyXEL.

Networking vendor ZyXEL Communications has announced the availability of its new series of high-performance next-generation Unified Threat Management (UTM) systems. The company is emphasizing that besides state of the art performance in the SMB space, the new solutions offer their reseller partners more opportunities for profit than in the past.

“These systems have best-in-class hardware, but in selling through channels, it’s not just the widgets, but the trust factor, the value of the name and the people behind it,” said Steven Joe, executive vice president for channel business for Americas at ZyXEL. “That’s what we have been changing ZyXEL to be. This launch puts us in a higher level where things are more services driven, and where the products are still commoditized but much less so than a router or a managed switch. As you move up and the solutions are more software-oriented and customizable, it means ZyXEL is pushing hard in the business space with more margins”

The new UTM product line consists of two series. The Advanced Series (USG110, USG210 and USG310) is designed for SMBs with enterprise-class features for always-on network protection. The Performance Series (USG40, USG40W, USG60 and USG60W) including wired and wireless UTM gateways, offers an integrated security solution for remote offices, retail locations and small businesses.

“The new firewall volume and VPN throughput are now at higher performance and are class-leading,”  Joe said. “Our hardware is best in class, with an advantage for us being that our firewall competitors’ history isn’t anything beyond security. On the performance of apps for example, we have a lot of experience with that which they don’t.” The ZyXEL UTMs also offer deep packet SSL inspection, sophisticated anti-malware protection from Kaspersky and granular social networking control.

“We also now have an Integrated WLAN controller, which means better management and more controllability for Wi-Fi, and it also makes it more of a complete solution for VARs,” Joe added.

The user interface for the USG line has also been completely redesigned to offer a single point of control for firewall, IDP, anti-virus, content filtering and application control through a unified management interface which consolidates all security policies in a single location.

“Other than the pure performance increases, it’s the user interface that is the most notable change here, “Joe said. “We are moving to a common interface across all the hardware platforms.”

The result, Joe said, isn’t full mission-critical support, with all its redundancy, but it’s close.

“It’s not mission-critical but it is information-critical,” he said. “If you are a five star hotel, you can’t offer poor services to your customers.”

ZyXEL is also offering partners a much stronger selection of service and support plays with these products than in the past. Beyond the one year manufacturer’s warranty, the new USG series will have an additional one to three year warranty for resale, and an additional, one to three years of fee based expert technical support will also be available from ZyXEL. This fee-based technical support is a way for partners who don’t have the ability to provide this support to still make some money off it. Subscription-based security services, along with the warranty and technical support services, offer authorized channel partners a comprehensive solution bundle.

“These will allow VARs to take advantage of more services with ZyXEL which they haven’t been able to do in the past.” Joe said. “In the past we haven’t been strong at providing this, but we will be with this line. “VARs who want to move into more critical services have to have these options, which were not there in the past.”

That had been a major flaw in ZyXEL’s past SMB strategy, which Joe has gradually been reshaping to a model that meets the needs of SMB partners.

“We didn’t sell them before because we weren’t real strong in the VAR channel until a couple years ago,” he said. “In the commercial space we sold to carriers, who didn’t use these services. Offering the right business model to the channel with the new product, providing the more unique type things that certain VARs have to have, is what we needed to do.”

Three models are available in the Advanced Series, the USG 110, USG 210, and USG 310, at MSRPs of $USD 900, 1250 and 2350 respectively. Four models are available in the Performance Series, the USG40 and USG 60, and the USG40W and USG60W, the latter two of which have 802.11n Wi-Fi. Their pricing ranges from $320 to $650 for unbundled hardware, and $420 to 800 for hardware bundled with one year licenses of security services including AV, IDP, Anti-Spam, and Content Filtering.

This article originally appeared on eChannelLine.