Westcon Adds Palo Alto Networks to Security Portfolio, Appoints New Executive

Distributor aims to be “single-source play” for channel partners selling security solutions.

September 17, 2010

D.H. Kass

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Westcon Group Inc. said that it has signed a distribution agreement with Palo Alto Networks Inc., a Sunnyvale, CA-based network security provider, whose firewall technology allows visibility and control over applications, users and content.

Westcon also said that it has hired Andrew Warren as its vice president, Security. Westcon hired Warren away from Avnet Inc.’s Technology Solutions unit, where he was responsible for growing that company’s network security business. He will report to Lynn Smurthwaite-Murphy, Westcon senior vice president, U.S. and Canada.

Palo Alto separately said that it also has signed a distribution agreement with ComputerLinks, an Austin, TX-based distributor best known in Europe.

The vendor’s deals with Westcon and Computerlinks are its first forays into two-tier distribution in North America, officials said.

“By teaming up with Westcon, we can further empower our channel to help companies properly address today’s enterprise security challenges,” said Larry Link, Palo Alto vice president, worldwide sales.

Smurthwaite-Murphy said that Westcon added Palo Alto to its security portfolio based on demand from its customer base.

“Westcon Security’s addition of Palo Alto Networks is in direct response to overwhelming feedback from our security-oriented customer base,” she said.

To back channel partners selling the Palo Alto line, Westcon will provide demand generation materials, financing options, certification guidance, pre-and post-sales support, and marketing collateral.

Partners will be recruited from Westcon’s existing base of resellers but the “aim is to add net new partners,” Smurthwaite-Murphy said.

The distributor’s security vendor roster includes a range of notables such as Blue Coat Systems Inc., EMC Corp.’s RSA, Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., Brocade Communications Systems Inc., F5 Networks Inc., IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Trend Micro Inc., among others.

“Offering partners diversification in our portfolio is part of our aggressive growth strategy as a company,” Smurthwaite-Murphy said. “We need a broad portfolio to be relevant to customers,” she said.

Smurthwaite-Murphy said that Warren’s primary task will be to grow Westcon’s security business. He is charged with developing and implementing the distributor’s security strategy, reseller and vendor relationships, product management, business development and sales.

“It is extremely important to focus on security as a practice in the new network,” she said. “As new technologies are introduced and customers continue to evolve, Andrew will be responsible for driving our growth in this key technology segment.”

Westcon maintains solutions practices in convergence, collaboration, mobility, service provider and security as well as its Comstor unit dedicated to Cisco Systems Inc.’s products and services.

Security is its third largest practice behind Comstor and convergence, Smurthwaite-Murphy said.

TAGS: security,distribution,channel,Westcon,Palo Alto Networks

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