Chinese Security Company NSFOCUS Enters North American Market

Chinese security company NSFOCUS is moving into the North American market, offering network intrusion prevention, Web application firewall and anti-denial of service (DoS) appliances, and a Web security service. NSFOCUS is adopting a channel-based strategy to sell into the small and midsize enterprise market, as well as to hosted service providers, including ISPs, managed security services providers and telcos (ILECs/CLECs).

May 5, 2011

3 Min Read
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Chinese security company NSFOCUS is moving into the North American market, offering network intrusion prevention, Web application firewall and anti-denial of service (DoS) appliances, and a Web security service. NSFOCUS is adopting a channel-based strategy to sell into the small and midsize enterprise market, as well as to hosted service providers, including ISPs, managed security services providers and telcos (ILECs/CLECs).

In addition to the challenges of coming into a new market with established security companies, NSFOCUS has to deal with the security community's suspicions toward the Chinese government, especially in light of last year's Aurora attacks.

"We realized walking in the door that we would have to deal with this question," says Vann Abernerthy, product manager, North America. "We are 100% privately owned; the government has zero in us. The primary stock ownership is employees, and the primary investor is Legend Holdings."

Abernathy said that NSFOCUS is working with application security company Veracode to verify that there is no malware injection, back doors, and so on in NSFOCUS code. Additionally, the company is seeking ISCA Labs certification and working with the organization to meet FISMA and NIST standards.

NSFOCUS' success in Asia, outside of China, should help establish its credibility in North American markets, says Robert Ayoub, global program manager, network security, at Frost & Sullivan."They've had a lot of success in the entire APAC region; they've done a good job," says Ayoub. "They're a Chinese company, so there will be some challenges. I don't expect them to be selling to the U.S. government any time soon, but there's no reason for a lot of companies not to look at NSFOCUS."

The China factor notwithstanding, NSFOCUS faces a number of well-established competitors, particularly in the IPS market, which features companies such as Cisco Systems, Fortinet, ForeScout HP/TippingPoint, IBM ISS, Juniper Networks, McAfee, SonicWALL, Sourcefire and Stonesoft.

Pricing and NSFOCUS' ability to demonstrate that it has competitive products and services will be essential says Ayoub. (NSS Labs gave the network IPS product Approved certification/Recommended Level in 2010.)

The channel-centric approach is essential in NSFOCUS' mid-tier target market, Ayoub says: "Establishing channel relationships will probably be the most crucial component. VARS and channel partners are consultants and the drive for purchasing for a lot of these mid-tier companies."

The inline IPS appliance provides Layer 2-7 bidirectional intrusion prevention, using both signature and behavioral detection. It features multigigabit throughput and high availability, with the ability to fail open or closed.The Web application firewall sits inline in front of Web apps to prevent attacks, such as the OWASP Top 10, and allows security personnel to tune filters to reduce false positives. It also provides an antidefacement cache so that compromised sites can remain up while they are being remediated.

The WAF market has grown with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) requirement that companies either deploy WAF or conduct regular source code reviews. Competitors include AppliCure Technologies, Barracuda Networks, Breach Security, Cisco, Citrix, F5 Networks, Imperva and NetContinuum.

The anti-DoS appliance comes into a fairly open market, in which Arbor Networks is the major competitor specializing in DoS mitigation. Ayoub says there is increasing interest in anti-DoS technology, including from midsize hosting providers.

The WebSafe Web security service will be hosted by partners that provide monitoring, filtering and reporting using NSFOCUS appliances. Competitive hosted Web security services are largely cloud-based, from companies including Barracuda, Cisco, McAfee, Symantec, Webroot and Zscaler. Pricing for NSFOCUS appliances start at $12,000 for IPS, $17,000 for WAF and $25,000 for anti-DoS.

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