Tech Data adds DNS provider BlueCat to line card in both US and Canada

Most resellers tend to use Active Directory or BIND to provide DNS protection, but Tech Data is emphasizing to partners that Toronto-based Bluecat’s platform will provide a big step up from ‘good enough’ DNS protection.

Alex Ryals, vice president, Security Solutions, at Tech Data

Today, Tech Data is announcing that they have signed a new distribution agreement with Domain Name System [DNS] provider BlueCat. The agreement covers both the U.S. and Canada.

Toronto-based BlueCat, which has been in business since 2000, is a long-time player in the DNS space. Their Enterprise DNS platform centralizes, processes, and analyzes DNS data to give networks an added dimension of visibility and control capabilities to improve network security and efficiency.

“BlueCat has had their platform for a while, but have really advanced their technology in the last couple years, particularly in the hybrid cloud environment,” said Alex Ryals, vice president, Security Solutions, at Tech Data. “They not only do basic DNS name recognition, but look at the query request and provide an additional level of determination if a security threat exists. They have a list of between seven and nine security attributes they look at, including things like crazy domain names. If the domain passes those checks, it then goes to the set of pre-defined policies. So what they provide is DNS plus an extra layer of security. It’s a dynamic system that does security checking and validation and  policy-based enforcement all from one cloud platform. It’s thus a major step up from Microsoft Active Directory.”

Ryals said that most reseller customers he talks to typically use either open source BIND or Active Directory for DNS.

“They tend to use those solutions because they are easy,” he stated. “But while both of those solutions provide basic DNS protection, they lack automation, and make architecting the network much more  manual in cloud workload and hybrid cloud scenarios. So they are considerably more onerous in those use cases.”

Ryals said that Tech Data hasn’t offered this kind of fuller DNS solution to resellers previously.

“We have historically leveraged the more traditional DNS routes to market, like Active Directory and Cisco Umbrella,” he said. “There is certainly some overlap, but we don’t think that these are a real replacement for the kind of protection that BlueCat provides.”

While BlueCat has sold to the channel before, Ryals said that this is that company’s first full commitment to two-tier distribution.

“They have had a very small portion of their business going through a distributor – single digit,” he said. “They tried that a few years ago, basically dipping their toe in the water. For a combination of reasons, it was not successful. They were not really ready to scale up through distribution then, and as a result, the distributor didn’t put that much effort behind them. Now, their management team is ready to invest in two-tier distribution.”

Ryals said that BlueCat should be of interest to networking resellers as well as security specialists.

“This lets them go to the customer with a more holistic strategy,” he emphasized. “A networking reseller can go to their customer and tell them that while Active Director may seem ‘good enough,’ there are things they haven’t considered which can provide fuller protection. They just have to ask the right questions.  Security partners also get it. They are always worried about DNS spoofing.”

Ryals said that BlueCat will plug in easily to the reference architectures that Tech Data offers partners for different vertical markets like health care.

“Our objective with this is to make sure that partners are thinking about security from all the vectors, not just a firewall,” he concluded. “BlueCat Networks deals with one other avenue of entry, and is one of those secondary measures that partners sometimes don’t think about.”

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