Cato Networks Launches Network Security-As-A-Service Platform To Channel

Cato Networks, the newest startup from security investor Shlomo Kramer, is launching into the market Tuesday with a Network Security-as-a-Service platform that it says will shake up the perception that security has to be complicated -- and provide significant opportunity to its channel partners.

The Tel Aviv-based startup was founded last year by Kramer -- a respected security investor who also co-founded big name security vendors Check Point Software Technologies and Imperva -- and Gur Shatz. It landed $20 million in Series A funding in October from Steve Krausz, general partner at U.S. Venture Partners, and Theresia Gouw, founder of Aspect Ventures.

The company's Cato Cloud platform uses the cloud to consolidate WAN and Internet traffic, and layer enterprise-grade security solutions -- such as a next-generation firewall --, on top. The solution has two primary parts, according to the company: the Cato Cloud Network, which consolidates and encrypts all enterprise network elements using a global network of Points of Presence, and the Cato Network Security Services, which then adds enterprise-grade security solutions on top of the network.

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"Cato is creating the next chapter in the evolution of network security by unifying the network and security stack in the Cloud, addressing multiple enterprise challenges and use cases with one turnkey, service-based solution," co-founder and CEO Kramer said in a statement about the launch.

This type of approach helps solve the problem faced by many businesses, as perimeter technologies have proven flawed with the rise of cloud and mobile technologies, said Glenn Esposito, Cato vice president of sales, Americas. Those same perimeter-based appliance technologies have also proven expensive, he said, making it out of the price reach of many midmarket companies.

"The network perimeter has dissolved, and the appliance model doesn't fit the new mold," Esposito said.

Esposito joined Cato Networks in January to help lead the company’s sales and channel efforts. He came to Cato Networks from Barracuda Networks, where he was senior vice president of sales for the Americas.

Esposito said he will be driving a 100 percent channel-focused model at the startup, saying that he is a "big believer in the channel." While the company has no partners signed up right now, Esposito said he hopes to have several signed up in the next few weeks. He said he will be targeting recruitment of managed security service providers (MSSPs), traditional network security VARs, and VARs transitioning to an managed service provider (MSP) model. He said Cato will also look into relationships with independent software vendors (ISVs) and telecom companies. That being said, Esposito said, he will be very focused in his recruitment, selecting the right types of partners in the right regions.

"I'm being fairly selective because I'd rather go two feet wide and 10 feet deep with partners who really understand the value proposition, and we go to market together, rather than just being another line on the line card," Esposito said.

Cato Networks will look to launch a formalized partner program by the end of February, he said, with a traditional three-tier and discount structure. He said he anticipates the program will be fairly simple, as the company offers only two SKUs: Cato Cloud Network and Cato Network Security Services.

For partners, this type of solution is ideal for MSSPs who have a "gap" in their security portfolio or are looking to have a full set of security offerings for fully cloud customers, Esposito said. He said it would also appeal to more traditional VARs who are looking to expand their managed security service offerings.

"The market is evolving. … They are going ... to adapt in order to diversify their services and value proposition and continue to grow. That's where we come in," Esposito said.