Winners: Cisco And SonicWall
In the area of Network Security Appliances, Cisco and SonicWall each scored 83 points to secure a tie for first place in this hotly contested sector. Fortinet and Sophos finished third and fourth respectively, each missing the victory by slim margins.
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Reliability, features/functionality and technical innovation were areas in which all four companies received high marks. Juniper and McAfee, also in the running, trailed significantly.
"Our 5500-X series of firewalls pulled us over the top," said Susan Don, director of worldwide channels for Cisco's security business. "These are high-speed firewalls that provide investment protection through their ability to support additional services. For example, our CX capability provides enhanced visibility and control. We first launched it on the high-end 5585-X platform, and now we're bringing it into the new 5500-X series in a few months. This will be a solid value proposition for midrange customers, and a highly significant upgrade. In addition to the faster throughput, customers will have even more investment protection and the ability to add additional services without a forklift upgrade. We've also upgraded the partner profitability program to further help our channel get engaged."
Not to be outdone, Vince Massey, senior director NA Channels at SonicWall, points to his company's multilayer approach that enables channel partners and customers to standardize on SonicWall's product families in straightforward and effective ways.
"We have always been an easy-to-use product," he said. "We don't build in a lot of complexity into the systems beyond what is required to secure the network. So our partners feel very comfortable installing and configuring our products while at the same time knowing that the customers are getting a great solution. Our next-generation firewall represents a profound increase in customer protection when compared to earlier versions."