WatchGuard Takes Aim At Sophos With New Threat Detection And Response Solution

WatchGuard Technologies is bringing together its network and endpoint security portfolios with the launch of a new Threat Detection and Response solution, following on the heels of competitor Sophos.

The new Threat Detection and Response (TDR) solution, launched last week and announced on Tuesday, is an add-on subscription to the Seattle, Wash.–based company's flagship Firebox appliance as part of the company's Total Security Suite package. The cloud-based service adds threat detection capabilities on the endpoint, which connect back into the network for remediation.

WatchGuard has traditionally focused primarily on network security, but CTO Corey Nachreiner said the TDR launch shows the company recognizes the importance of a "holistic view" when it comes to security. He said companies need to embrace integrated network, endpoint, mobile and identity-based access solutions for more comprehensive security.

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"Traditional perimeter security is not enough," Nachreiner said. "Endpoint is what we were missing before and that is really the point of adding TDR to our product suite."

The TDR solution includes ThreatSync, which combines feeds from the company's Firebox appliances, endpoint sensors and threat intelligence feeds for threat detection and policy enforcement. It also includes a Host Ransomware Prevention module.

The launch comes at a time when other security vendors, including those also serving the small, medium and distributed enterprise markets, have pushed to offer both network and endpoint security as part of the same portfolio. Nachreiner said WatchGuard will differentiate itself by providing what he said is enterprise-grade technology through partnerships with enterprise security vendors, simplicity of management, UTM performance, threat visibility across both network and endpoint and allowing for the easy update of new services at no extra cost.

Sophos has also moved to unite its network and endpoint security lines, starting in November 2015 by bringing together intelligence from its next-generation firewall and UTM solutions with its next-generation endpoint technologies. It has since added to the number of products connected, including encryption. Nachreiner said WatchGuard's offering is different from Sophos because of the threat correlation it offers.

"We believe our correlation is much deeper than Sophos. And, by the way, we plan to make it even deeper," Nachreiner said.

The launch also comes as security threats facing small and medium businesses continue to accelerate, with SMBs facing tighter budgets and a shortage of staff but ultimately facing the same growing threats as their enterprise peers. Nachreiner said SMBs need the capabilities to detect attacks, but don't have the time to interact with multiple dashboards, leading them to look for a single set of solutions.

Carl Mazzanti, founder and CEO of eMazzanti Technolgoies, a Hoboken, N.J.-based top WatchGuard partner, said his company has already deployed nearly 1,000 nodes of TDR to its clients, one of the few to test the solution before launch. He said the solution solves a problem for its clients, which is policy enforcement. That is critical, he said, as it is "only a matter of time" for customers who aren't doing policy reviews and audits to get hit by ransomware or other malware.

"There are not many things on the planet, that from a single console, allows you do that," Mazzanti said. "The fact that we can do it in something that already sits in many of our customer offices or stores or environments is really compelling."

After being a partner for 15 years, Mazzanti said he is glad to see WatchGuard continue its path of innovation, which he said allows his company to have more conversations with customers and add more value to the appliances it offers. As a partner, he said his company adds value by helping clients make sure they are utilizing the full potential of the technology they purchase from a manufacturer. Finding that right security partner is critical, he said, so solutions add value and don't just needlessly increase the security footprint.

"It's not any longer to take something out of the box and deploy it and have it cover the customer's needs … They need a partner," Mazzanti said. "They really need a partner to help them take the journey," he said.