Channel Security Vet Thurber Lands At WatchGuard


Alex Thurber, a well-known channel executive who served at Cisco, McAfee and Tripwire, has taken a new position at WatchGuard Technologies, which confirmed to CRN on Monday that Thurber would head up sales at the network security appliance vendor.

Thurber did not respond to a request for comment Monday. A WatchGuard spokesperson said he was named vice president of sales for the Americas and EMEA regions. The industry veteran will report to WatchGuard CEO Joe Wang.

WatchGuard competes with Barracuda Networks, Sophos and Dell SonicWall with its unified threat management appliances. WatchGuard's appliances are suited for small and midsize businesses, according to a recent Gartner analysis of the enterprise firewall market. The company offers next-generation firewall features with its appliances and it has a rapid deployment capability for managed service providers, Gartner said. The company fared poorly in tests conducted recently by NSS Labs, but the company has questioned the results.

[Related: 9 Unified Threat Management Security Appliances To Watch In 2013]

The poor test results were a topic of discussion among some WatchGuard channel partners, but most firms don't strictly rely on detection rates, said Wade Kilgore, vice president of technical operations at Plano, Texas-based Axxys Technologies, an MSP and WatchGuard partner. Kilgore said the company takes into account a client's current infrastructure and threat management needs before it recommends a vendor's appliance.

"When you start getting into UTM services, you start putting standard functions at risk," Kilgore said. "If a client needs specialized functionality like Web content filtering, we'll rely on a specialized device to handle that; if intrusion prevention is critical we're not going to rely on signature-based IPS on the firewall, we'll look at specialized appliances."

Axxys has been a WatchGuard partner for about 15 years and serves on WatchGuard's company's advisory council. Kilgore said WatchGuard has made significant improvements to its appliances, solving some past technical support issues and unstable releases.

"With all vendors that we evaluate, it seems that WatchGaurd has been more agile in responding to changes in the security industry," Kilgore said.

Thurber started at WatchGuard this week. He was vice president of worldwide sales at Tripwire, a compliance and configuration management vendor where he built and managed both the channel and corporate sales organizations. Tripwire acquired nCircle for vulnerability management in March.

Prior to Tripwire, Thurber was senior vice president of worldwide channels at McAfee, responsible for commercial and SMB channel sales. For a decade, he worked at Cisco Systems, fulfilling roles as the managing director in Japan as well as senior director of channels, where he developed and led go-to-market channel strategies.

PUBLISHED JUNE 17, 2013