Napera Taps Channel for Small-Business Security Sales

By Alison Diana

July 28, 2008


Napera Networks, developer of network access control solutions for small and mid-size companies, recently unveiled the Napera Advantage Partner Program, an initiative designed to support the sales, marketing and technical capabilities of its solution providers around the globe.

The Seattle-based vendor – established by several former WatchGuard and Microsoft executives – designed its Napera N24 and N24S solutions to be less complex and more affordable than NACs typically created for enterprises, said Todd Hooper, founder and CEO. The plug-and-play unit includes a switch-based appliance and integrated online management service, and addresses device health, identity enforcement and guest-access, he said. Napera's Windows solution is based on Microsoft Network Access Protection (NAP) protocols, works with virtually all anti-malware applications and provides online management services for real-time visibility and remote management. Napera created NAP internally for use on Macintosh computers.

“A lot of people take their computers home or travel with them, and IT has no control over them,” Hooper said. “SMEs want to know the health of the devices when they're attached to the network. They want to know the identity of users and improve their ability to handle guests.”

Despite firewalls, anti-virus, anti-spam and anti-phishing tools, all-too-often users do not download patches or keep security programs updated, he said. By adding an NAC, IT professionals gain visibility into attached devices, ensuring they are secure and who they claim to be, noted Hooper. While several NACs have been available from vendors such as Cisco and Juniper, typically these are too high-priced and require too much administration for smaller firms, he said.

Napera is selling the N24 and N24S exclusively through the channel, recruiting partners throughout the world, said Margaret Dawson, vice president of marketing at the vendor. Today, the company has a handful of solution providers, but expects to work with up to 200 globally within 12 months, she said. So far, most partners have extensive security or network expertise and view Napera's solution as an incremental sale.

Virtual Graffiti Inc., for example, signed-on about two weeks ago, said Hillel Sackstein, president of the Irvine, Calif.-based IT security and services firm. “Most of our firewall and security solutions are gateway solutions, and Napera is very complementary since it is a network switch and a NAS,” he said. “A lot of our smaller clients don't really have the visibility and control over their networks, and solutions such as this are usually beyond the reach of SMB customers. This is something we can market to every customer we've sold a firewall to. We're also looking at marketing a total security bundle that will include Napera.”

The solution provider has received a lot of marketing, sales and training support from it latest vendor partner, Sackstein said. The partner program also features deal registration. Only a few days into the deal, Virtual Graffiti began including data sheets on Napera's solution with each firewall it shipped, he said. The solution provider also expects to earn residual fees from those clients that eventually outsource the services to Napera, since the vendor will “contribute a healthy percentage,” to referring partners, said Hooper.

“So far they've been really supportive,” said Sackstein. “They provided us with sales and technical training, evaluation equipment and webinars.”

With a price of about $3,500, the N24 is affordable for most SMBs, he said. Leveraging Microsoft's NAP technology may also alleviate the concern some IT clients may have due to Napera's short company history. Virtual Graffiti also refers to executives' longevity in this industry, Sackstein said.