AppSense Steps Up Its Endpoint Security Game With Increased R&D, Partner Training

AppSense, a 16-year-old vendor that leads the small-but-developing market known as user environment management, is looking to broaden its reach by highlighting its endpoint security capabilities.

AppSense, Sunnyvale, Calif., sells desktop user personalization and management technology that is a key part of virtual desktop projects. At VMworld next week, AppSense will reveal that Application Manager -- its endpoint security product -- has seen a tripling of sales in the past year and now has more than 3,500 customers.

Application Manager now manages more than 8 million customer endpoints, and AppSense added some 1.2 million new endpoints in the past year, Jon Wallace, chief technology officer of cloud and emerging technology at AppSense, told CRN on Friday.

[Related: Saber-Rattling Intensifies In User Profile Virtualization As VMware Enters Market]

Sponsored post

"Customers are already using AppSense products in security roles, and now they're using it to counter security breaches," Wallace told CRN. This is not a pivot, but rather, a refocusing on what AppSense already does, he said.

Security isn't a new play for AppSense, which started out as a system integrator focused on securing Citrix environments. Over time, AppSense has added more security functionality to the Application Manager product. "We've always had a strong set of security features," said Wallace.

Jed Ayres, senior vice president of marketing at AppSense, said the vendor recently rolled out security-related training and enablement for its base of nearly 60 partners, which includes 21 in the U.S.

"The training is to help them have conversations about security with customers. We need to teach them the selling motion required to move into this space," Ayres told CRN.

Paul Pettit, co-founder at Spadafy, a Seattle-based AppSense partner that's focused on enterprise and health care customers, said his customers like AppSense because they can get endpoint security benefits without having to change their IT environments.

"Security is always a factor for our customers," Pettit told CRN. "AppSense addresses that in a way that doesn't interfere with the user experience."

Ken Phelan, CTO of Gotham Technology Partners, a Montvale, N.J.-based AppSense partner, told CRN that AppSense's technology has solved security issues for some of his company's largest customers.

"Over the years, security has moved down the stack, from network to operating systems to applications. Applications are the new battleground, and AppSense does a great job containing and controlling the application stack," Phelan said.

It used to be that organizations bought firewalls and content protection for their security, but these technologies didn't focus on the endpoint. Now, with drive-by downloads and other attacks, organizations are paying attention to endpoint security -- and things like administrative privileges -- to limit the damage, said Jon Rolls, vice president of product management at AppSense.

"We want to make sure when a user gets an attachment, it can't be executed, even though it's on the endpoint," Rolls said.

AppSense, by focusing more on endpoint security, believes it can foster closer communications between IT security staff and desktop administrators, Bassam Kahn, vice president of product marketing, told CRN.

"Security people are coming to UEM and working with the desktop people, who typically have more than 40 security products they need to maintain in their environments," Kahn said. "We're finding more and more security guys discussing, or getting the desktop guys on board. We think our products meet both needs."

AppSense is stepping up investment and R&D funding on security and was recently granted a patent for data fingerprinting technology, said Kahn.

AppSense is seen as the leader of the UEM market, but it's now facing competition from VMware, which entered this space in April with its User Environment Manager product. VMware pitches it to Citrix customers as a better way to manage apps and end users.

VMware User Environment Manager is based on technology from two VMware acquisitions: CloudVolumes, a startup focused on delivering virtual apps to desktops, and Immidio, which does Windows desktop virtualization management software.

AppSense, in an effort to differentiate itself, is recruiting partners that are pure security players, according to Kahn.

"It's a different audience -- we're targeting security teams," he said. "Our approach to security is that you can't just have pure security-focused discussions anymore, you have to work with the rest of IT."