2009 Channel Contenders: Security Software

Symantec owns the security software space, but a slew of competitors are vying to gain share away from the market leader, according to the 2009 CRN Channel Contenders survey. The research sought to identify the top vendors that solution providers choose as alternatives to market leaders. Here's a look at the top contenders chosen by VARs.

Trend Micro

Trend Micro sailed above competitors, emerging as the leading contender. Over the last 12 months, Trend Micro has fortified its security software portfolio with a vast array of cloud-based endpoint security offerings for all market segments, powered by their SmartProtection Network. Additionally, in April, the Tokyo-based company launched a new partner program specifically for MSSPs, further allowing their partners to take the lead in the managed services space.


Software giant Microsoft led the pack of channel contenders in the security software category. Microsoft attributes its rise in the security space to a philosophy that promotes comprehensive integrated security, as opposed to security that is "bolted on" separately. That philosophy manifested in recent launches of its hosted e-mail security service Forefront Online Security for Exchange. Meanwhile, the company is giving antivirus competitors a run for their money with the recent launch of its free Microsoft Security Essentials antimalware download.


McAfee touts a broad security portfolio, calling itself the largest vendor solely dedicated to security, that is to say, not storage and backup too. In recent months, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company filled in valuable niches in its security portfolio with the acquisition of SolidCore Systems, which allowed it to reach new markets with expanded white-listing capabilities and compliance technologies.


AVG offers competitively, even aggressively, priced antimalware and Web security products aimed largely at the SMB, and like Microsoft, has a free antivirus offering. Meanwhile, AVG's focus on affordability has seemed to serve the company well in the down economy, making it a draw for larger customers in the midmarket space as well as the smallest markets.

Kaspersky Lab

In recent years, Kaspersky Lab has exploded onto the security stage, due in large part to strong sales of its commercial antivirus product, and has made big waves in the channel as well. Above all else, the company's executives attribute their success to a steadfast devotion to research and development, and technical innovation that has resulted in high-quality, reliable products.


Among other things, CA touts a strong set of enterprise-management products, giving it a niche in the market. It's also been beefing up its portfolio with an array of offerings, including the release of enterprise log manager, a role and compliance manager and a DLP product, all of which serve to give the company a big leg up in the compliance and auditing, and reporting arenas.

Check Point

A leader in firewall software, Check Point prides itself on servicing the enterprise market, boasting superior technical innovation and attention to detail on its high-end perimeter security products. Recently delving into the Web security arena, Check Point launched an enterprise browser-based security solution, Check Point Endpoint Security, using virtualization to protect browsers from malware, zero-day exploits and drive-by downloads.


Websense pits itself against some of the biggest DLP players while touting some of the most comprehensive managed Web security offerings in the channel. The company is known for its software and cloud-based services, but recently launched into the appliance arena with its new V10000 Web gateway, which categorizes content on specific Web pages.


Webroot is best known for its antivirus, endpoint and Web security offerings, and also offers a commercial Internet security product. Meanwhile, Webroot has recently plunged into the managed services arena with the release of its on-demand Web, e-mail and archiving products hosted in the cloud.


The company maintains that it offers an unbeatable array of security products that span endpoint products to compliance and identity and access management solutions to firewalls. And because its offerings run a wide range, IBM asserts that it is equipped to offer a comprehensive security analysis of a customer's entire corporate network while providing all the products and services necessary to fill glaring security holes left in most enterprise security infrastructures.

Juniper Networks

Juniper has often given its larger competitor, Cisco Systems, a run for its money in networking gear, coming in with stronger products and a more competitive price point. Subsequently, the company touts one of the strongest lines of firewalls, SSL VPN, Web gateways and IDP offerings around.