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December - 2008 - issue > Company Spotlight
Check-Point-Offering-Total-Security
Vimali Swamy
Monday, December 1, 2008
“When the Internet was born, Check Point was there to secure it, we are the pioneers in security solutions,” says Bhaskar Bakthavatsalu, Country Manager, Check Point. The company had laid the foundation for Internet security with its first software solution – Firewall-1. Since then, it has justifiably considered itself a trendsetter in this space. The company was the first one to offer VPN client for iPhone and data security offering for iMac before others followed. We are the first company to offer a single agent end-point security solution in the world. The company believes in foreseeing the nature of problems that might come up and being prepared with a solution before hand; this has been its greatest strength. Being proactive, and not reactive, is their motto.

Check Point’s R&D operations are based in its headquarters in Israel and the U.S.A., where over 1,000 security experts strive daily to make the enterprise network and data more secure. For years it had focused on network security, but slowly as the relevance of securing the data became significant, the company decided to offer end-to-end information security solution. Check Point initiated the world,s first Open Platform for Security (OPSEC). The OPSEC framework is recognized worldwide as the standard for interoperability. “By continuing to expand our partnerships, we continue to expand the breadth of interoperable solutions available to our end-users. By opening our architecture to third-party integrations, we're able to offer our end-users a true "best-of-breed" solution built on the most comprehensive security architecture available in the market today,” says Bakthavatsalu.

Today, the company has on offer a variety of security solutions for its customers. Be it managing security problems in large enterprises or small enterprises such as the network, PCs, mobile devices, and memory devices Check Point has a solution for every need. Power-1 and UTM-1 represent the appliance-based solutions. Some of the company’s leading solutions in the market are VPN –1 VE for virtual security, Pointsec Mobile and SecureClient Mobile for smartphones, Connectra for Secure SSL VPN solution, Check Point Secure Access package for complete remote access protection, and SmartCenter and Provider-1 for unified security management.

“We have observed that the major challenge for an enterprise is in managing the multitude of security solutions,” says Bakthavatsalu. Check Point security management solutions provide unified policy management, monitoring, and analysis. All our solutions are based on the Check Point Unified Security Architecture, which provides consistent and efficient control of the security infrastructure to improve security, reduce complexity, and lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

The first acquisition of Check Point was Zone Labs, makers of the Zone Alarm personal firewall software, in 2003. In 2006 Check Point acquired Protect Data, the holding company for PointSec Mobile Technologies. Prior to this acquisition by Check Point, Protect Data had acquired Reflex Software. In late 2006 Check Point aquired NFR security, an intrusion prevention system provider. These acquisitions aided Check Point in broadening its security portfolio.

Check Point has been very selective and careful about its acquisition roadmap. When the company acquired the two companies, they had ensured that the companies integrated their technology on to Check Point’s existing platform, thereby enhancing its offerings with additional features. “Our commitment to our customers, as we integrate more features in to our solutions, is to assure them that scalability and manageability of these features would remain the best the market can offer,” Bakthavatsalu says. Hence, within three quarters of acquiring these companies, Check Point was able to offer upgrades to all the customer’s existing solutions with the new features, thereby avoiding the need for any replacement. Additionally, it was ensured that these solutions were managed from the existing Check Point management solution.

It was also at this time that the company saw the need to include appliance based security solutions. Check Point had started seeing a great traction in the SMB market, but when it approached the customers in this segment it saw a lack of awareness amongst them. “Customers were not ready to accept the fact that software could help them secure and manage their complete security needs. They had to see a physical unit and hence we rolled out appliance-based solutions,” Bakthavatsalu explains. Today, its UTM-1 range of solutions has catapulted the company’s market share in the SMB segment. One of the key reasons for this is the easy maintenance and manageability that the company offers in the long run. “Unlike large enterprises, SMBs do not have sufficient resources that can be exclusively dedicated for managing the security issues. Hence, not only we have a round the clock support center, but additionally our appliances can be easily managed from a remote location,” he adds.

The credits for the easy acceptance of the company’s products in the market, apart from technology, goes to the company’s channel driven philosophy. In India, Check Point currently has only sales offices that work with multiple channel partners to conquer the market in the large, medium, and small enterprises segments. Bakthavatsalu agrees that the products are priced somewhat at a higher end, but the company does not wish to compromise on quality and offers far better TCO than any other vendor in this space. This is why the sales team takes extra efforts to educate its channel partners as well as the customers. The company ensures that each of its channel partners is Check Point certified and offers the certifications to its customers as well. “We believe in engaging with the customers directly when it comes to acting up on their response, but in order to reach the customers at the first place we rely totally on our partners,” he says.

It is this customer and partners driven philosophy that the company has put its confidence in to pursue in the long run. In 2007, as per the estimates of the company and other third parties, Check Point had a total market share of 46 percent in the network security market, while the nearest competitor had a 27 percent market share. This trend is similar across the many geographies including India. Though the company has no ideas of starting an R&D center in India yet, it hopes to grab much more share in the growing Indian market.
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