Bitdefender, WatchGuard partner on integrated solution

OEM licensing agreements are a significant part of the revenues of Bitdefender’s growing enterprise business.


Vincent Schiavo, Bitdefender’s Senior VP of Worldwide Sales and Marketing

Cybersecurity vendor Bitdefender and network security vendor WatchGuard Technologies have announced a new licensing agreement which puts Bitdefender’s anti-malware on WatchGuard’s network security solutions to block known and unknown advanced threats in real time.

Bitdefender is one of the many European-based anti-malware players – Romania in this case – who carved out a niche in their home region and then tried their luck at expansion. Bitdefender has been more successful than most of these, with more than 500 million users in more than 150 countries providing telemetry data. They have been in business since 2001. Their development, engineering and worldwide headquarters are still in Bucharest, Romania while their U.S. offices are in Santa Clara CA.

“We started out as an AV provider, back when that was all you needed, said Vincent Schiavo, Bitdefender’s Senior VP of Worldwide Sales and Marketing. “Since then we have expanded our range of offerings. We have both a consumer and enterprise group, although the technology is the same under the hood. We have a very strong enterprise offering for the data centre with lots of virtualization, which is purpose-built for that market and delivers excellent performance.” It’s available in both on-prem and cloud versions. They have also won multiple awards from different AV rating services, and are growing at a 100 per cent rate year over year in their enterprise business.

Licensing deals like with WatchGuard are important to Bitdefender’s business model

“We have 140 different licensed partners around the world, and it is a significant part of our business – between 10 and 15 per cent,” Schiavo said. “It’s also an extremely profitable part of our business. We have over 20 SDKs that we make available to OEM partners on a licensing business.”

What is more unusual about the WatchGuard deal is Bitdefender’s decision to publicize it.

“We don’t make these kinds of announcements that often,” Schiavo said.  “We are, however, starting to see more well-known brands licensing us. Publicizing them helps us build brand credibility as well as increasing revenue.”

The WatchGuard deal brings Bitdefender’s enterprise-grade solution to a company whose focus has been primarily on the SMB and the distributed enterprise. It came about because part of Bitdefender’s model is to compile lists of companies who could benefit from their SDKs and approach them.

“They had another incumbent partner previously, but companies often change their partners if they aren’t happy with the level of service,” Schiavo said. “Our software has been fully customized to work optimally with WatchGuard. We don’t license on a turnkey basis. It all works around the SDK and we have a steam of engineers dedicated to our OEM business that give access to the SDK, although the heavy lifting is done by the vendor.”

Bitdefender’s enterprise product only goes to market through the channel.

“We only sell through partners, and we aren’t overdistributed,” Schiavo said. “We work mainly with Lifeboat, as well as with Ingram Micro and another distributor that serves the very small part of the market. We also have a very aggressive deal registration program that provides a 20 per cent differential to protect the partner who registers the deal.”