3Com To Launch SMB-Focused Security Onslaught

3Com plans a security offensive over the next 12 months that will include new SMB-focused TippingPoint wares and the authorization of more than 1,000 3Com partners to sell them.

January 30, 2006

3 Min Read
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3Com plans a security offensive over the next 12 months that will include new SMB-focused TippingPoint wares and the authorization of more than 1,000 3Com partners to sell them.

The moves come as 3Com last week named new President and CEO R. Scott Murray, replacing Bruce Claflin, who is retiring. Murray most recently served as CEO of Modus Media International, a supply chain management company. John Lowery, CEO of Intelesys, a Madison Heights, Mich.-based 3Com partner, said Murray should continue 3Com’s plans to deliver an end-to-end product suite.

“He has to make sure that they take the glimmer of hope we’ve seen so far and keep that moving forward,” Lowery said.

In particular, 3Com’s security plans should create a huge opportunity for 3Com’s channel to tackle intrusion prevention, Lowery said.

“If they can take [TippingPoint] functionality to smaller boxes and smaller users, I’m 100 percent interested,” Lowery said. “Every company on this planet needs intrusion prevention and detection, period.”3Com is expanding the high end of its TippingPoint lineup with the planned launch in the second half of this year of the M60 chassis-based 60-Gbps intrusion prevention system (IPS), its highest-capacity system to date. Previously, the line topped out at 5 Gbps.

“The throughput of it is ridiculous. There’s no one else in the market that’s even close,” said Frank Orlando, president of Allcom Solutions, a 3Com Gold partner in Addison, Texas. Large school districts and enterprises using 10-Gigabit switches will be targets for the M60, he said.

M60 modules also work with 3Com’s 8800 core switches, the first manifestation of 3Com’s pledge to integrate TippingPoint’s security technology into its networking equipment.

While some VARs lauded the move, others said they hope 3Com soon integrates IPS capabilities into its edge switches, which are more widely used than the 8800 core switches.

“Large enterprises don’t have 3Com equipment at their core. While 60 Gbps is cool, they’ve got some growing to do with the integration,” said Andrew Plato, president of Anitian, a security solution provider in Beaverton, Ore.In the year since 3Com’s roughly $430 million purchase of TippingPoint, the Marlborough, Mass.-based vendor has tried to push TippingPoint’s enterprise-focused technology out to a broader range of its 5,500 North American channel partners without commoditizing the products or lowering margins for existing TippingPoint partners, said Nick Tidd, vice president of North American channel sales at 3Com.

“We’ve been very cautious in the way we’ve done it,” he said. “We have been very upfront and extremely diligent in not overdistributing our security products.”

This year, 3Com plans to expand TippingPoint’s portfolio downstream and cross-pollinate it with other product lines, such as VoIP. Then the TippingPoint lineup will lend itself to a broader distribution strategy, Tidd said.

Still, the 1,000-plus 3Com partners that Tidd plans to bring into the TippingPoint fold will be restricted to the new SMB-focused products and not granted full access to high-end enterprise products.

3Com now has 157 authorized TippingPoint partners, up from 80 when the company was acquired. About 60 of those partners are also 3Com Silver or Gold partners, said Steve Chappell, vice president of global channels for TippingPoint at 3Com.Access to TippingPoint’s enterprise products is restricted to partners that achieve stringent requirements. In addition, most 3Com partners that have picked up the line since the acquisition have done so by invitation, Chappell said.

Regardless of whether they are legacy TippingPoint or 3Com partners, all 3Com solution providers now are under a single channel program, the revamped Focus Partner Program, which was launched last month.

3Com is taking further steps to integrate the two channels, Chappell said. “All of the regional 3Com channel account managers will be the day-to-day account managers for 3Com and TippingPoint partners,” he said.

The three existing TippingPoint channel account managers are now part of a new eight-member channel development team recently formed to recruit and foster partnerships with enterprise partners.

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