WatchGuard CEO: Panda Security Deal Is ‘Truly Creating Upside’

‘If we're going to build out the mid-market security platform that we envisioned, to us this was an element that we had to add,’ WatchGuard CEO Prakash Panjwani says of the Panda Security acquisition, which closed Tuesday.


Bringing WatchGuard Technologies’ network security and Panda Security’s endpoint protection together will boost detection and remediation capabilities by leveraging automation, CEO Prakash Panjwani said.

The Seattle-based cybersecurity vendor officially expanded its footprint into the endpoint Tuesday with the close of its acquisition of Bilbao, Spain-based Panda, which had first been announced in March. WatchGuard over time hopes to combine the network and endpoint intelligence and telemetry data to better correlate and analyze disparate events and take rapid action, according to Panjwani.

“This is truly creating upside for the network side of our partners as well as the endpoint, and to bring the best of breed together in a single platform that’s all centrally managed,” Panjwani told CRN exclusively. “If we're going to build out the mid-market security platform that we envisioned, to us this was an element that we had to add.”

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[Related: WatchGuard To Buy Endpoint Protection Stalwart Panda Security]

WatchGuard has launched the Panda Security Early Access Program, providing resellers with access to the endpoint protection, detection and response capabilities found on Panda Adaptive Defense 360. Getting Panda’s technology in the hands of WatchGuard resellers will allow partners to quickly assess the product before introducing it to customers, said senior vice president of marketing Michelle Welch.

From there, Panjwani said WatchGuard will focus on making the full portfolio available to both sets of partners. Solution providers have typically been able to procure products directly from Panda, but Panda partners looking to resell WatchGuard’s legacy network security, secure Wi-Fi or multifactor authentication offerings will need to go through distribution, according to Welch.

After that, Panjwani said the two sides will focus on integrating back-office functions and licensing practices. From there, the company wants to have Panda’s technology fully integrated into the WatchGuard Cloud platform within the first year of joint operations, according to Panjwani.

At that point, Panjwani said WatchGuard will turn its attention to leveraging telemetry data and intelligence across its entire technology stack to improve automation and detection and accelerate remediation.

From a go-to-market standpoint, Panjwani said WatchGuard wants to capitalize on the inroads Panda has made with telecom service providers as well as managed security service providers (MSSP) since those relationships take a bit longer to develop than traditional solution providers. Leveraging those channels will allow WatchGuard to grow its presence in the upper end of the MSP market, he said.

Similarly, Panjwani said WatchGuard can take advantage of Panda’s presence in the consumer space to better serve the businesses with 10 or fewer users in the small office market. Panda has had success adapting its consumer product to the small office market, and Panjwani said WatchGuard could benefit from getting its technology more into that space.

There is little overlap between the WatchGuard and Panda partner communities, with less than 10 percent of Panda resellers having ever purchased a WatchGuard product. Panda generates the vast majority of its revenue in Europe while 40 percent of WatchGuard’s sales come from Europe, but for the most part, Panjwani said the two companies are strong in different parts of the continent.

“What partners see from WatchGuard from a support and simplicity perspective will only get better with Panda,” Panjwani said. “When it comes to pricing, bundling, management and security itself, that is something that we pride ourselves on.”

Adding endpoint security to WatchGuard’s firewall and multifactor authentication tools will allow firms to secure their entire workforce regardless of if they’re behind a firewall or in a mobile environment, said Kevin Willette, CEO of Verus Corp. The Minneapolis-based solution provider today offers endpoint security from Sophos and ESET, and looks forward to adding Panda to the portfolio once it’s tested.

Creating a security platform will allow partners like Verus to operate from a single pane of glass, correlating all the way from the endpoint to firewalls, Willette said. Verus has begun testing Panda internally and is so far impressed at everything it can do, Willette said.

“This is something that we’d been looking for WatchGuard to do for many years,” Willette said. “We’re really excited for it.”