Astaro Protects VoIP Networks


The vendor's new Security Gateway 420 gives Astaro resellers a way to offer their customers security tools that protect from viruses, hackers, spam and other network threats, said Kamal Arafeh, vice president of sales for the Burlington, Mass., vendor.

Loaded with version 6 of Astaro's Security Linux operating system, the rackable, Intel-powered appliance can handle network payloads of as many as 1,000 employees for a base price of $8,995, according to Astaro.

What's more, Astaro Security Linux 6 has been dispatched with tools to address protection for VoIP networks, said Arafeh.

The VoIP security features make a big difference when it comes to introducing the Astaro appliances to SMBs, said Harry Dykeman, vice president of sales at JDM Infrastructure, a Rosemont, Ill.-based VAR and Astaro partner that specializes in security.

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Dykeman has noticed interest in VoIP pick up substantially in the 300-to 500-seat business sector, and being able to offer network security to these customers while at the same time starting them on a course that will protect future VoIP deployments makes for a persuasive sales pitch, he said.

"These smaller companies see their big brothers in the Fortune 500 space getting into VoIP, and so they too have begun asking questions about it," said Dykeman. "They have concerns, and they may not be ready to move to VoIP immediately, but we don't want to do anything that locks them out or slows the move to VoIP later."

Simplified appliances like those from Astaro can become a foundation for future sales, he said.

"Typically our security customers go the appliance route first, and with Astaro we can create a baseline, then as time goes by we can start adding on to that baseline," said Dykeman.

Astaro, which sells its line of Linux-based security gateways solely through the channel, has been beating its sales forecasts by 100 percent over the past few months and has added about 75 new partners since March, according to the company.

An aggressive growth model and loads of attention given to its partners generate Astaro's overall momentum, Arafeh said.

"We are constantly modifying and improving our channel sales model, improving profit margins, and giving partners the opportunity to learn best practices," he said.

Astaro is still recruiting partners, who can join the vendor's ranks with a $1,500 certification that can be waived based on a reseller's particular sales volume commitment, Arafeh said. VARs capable of volume dealing are particularly welcome, said Arafeh, who said the current "lion's share of our business in the partner community comes from a select few partners."

"We haven't reached partner capacity yet, and as we grow we want to continue to be an intimate partner to do business with," he said.