I remember when we were still trying to figure out what a unified threat management (UTM) tool was. We tried for consistent definitions. We sort of got one. But no sooner did we have the UTMs sorted out from the multipurpose appliances than the ballgame changed again and it became the mainstay. However, even with that, we began to see all sorts of point solutions being subsumed by the UTM to the point where, once again, it has become difficult to define.
From our perspective, that was good because it showed progress and creativity in addressing a difficult problem: knowing what is happening on one's enterprise and acting on that knowledge. There is an adage about eating an elephant a bite at a time. Our winner this time is eating the entire enterprise elephant. And it's doing that without getting a bellyache.
A next-generation UTM developer needs to learn from and then forget the past. The new paradigms emerging as alternatives to the traditional enterprise demand new ideas in protecting the enterprise. That means looking for a platform that can provide an infrastructure for accomplishing a lot of security tasks. The UTM is just the ticket. But it needs to be the new and improved UTM.
This year's UTM Innovator took an interesting approach to solving the problem. Probably the biggest challenge, though, is not technical. It's cost. To realize a relatively universal market, cost barriers need to be overcome. There are lots of ways to do that by reducing capability. How our Innovator did it may ruffle some feathers, but it worked, and the end result is well worth looking at.
About that feather-ruffling: Another trend I observed this year was that many of our Innovators are developing disruptive technologies. That, we believe, is the best news of the year. Doing that successfully foreshadows real creativity in the market space. When enough companies disrupt the status quo with true solutions to serious – and emerging – challenges, the entire tone of the market changes. That is what we see happening this year, especially in this category.
Cyberoam CR1500ia from Elitecore Technologies
Cyberoam is a brand of Elitecore Technologies, an Indian company that started 11 years ago with 10 employees. With all the uproar about offshoring, this company is a real success story. The visionary we spoke with was the founder of the company and spent a lot of time talking about working with American employees and learning the cultural difference so that his Indian employees could make a global success out of Cyberoam. And a global success it is.
In 2004, the Cyberoam product was born and now is globally strong with 5,000 sales partners and 70 distributors worldwide. It always has been profitable, selling mostly to SMBs. With about 700 employees, half are dedicated to Cyberoam and most of the company's revenue comes from Cyberoam. The visionary told us that transparency (strategy always is clear) and collaborative culture around the world (business) are hallmarks of its corporate personality. It is cautious on marketing spending. It makes sure that its products are established in all other markets before the United States to ensure the credibility of the product in what it considers the most important market in the world. The key, we were told, is brand recognition. Cyberoam is one of two largely foreign Innovators this year, the other one being based in Israel.
The Cyberoam product line is quite broad, consisting of 19 models. These can be fully customized to meet the security requirements of enterprises across verticals. And, the company recently launched a network security product targeting the home segment, called NetGenie-Home.
“So, what really makes Cyberoam stand out?,” we asked the visionary. “What one, single thing defines the Cyberoam value statement?” The answer was clear, and it explained why this precocious start-up, which began with only 10 employees now has a global operation with more than 700. “Value for money,” he told us. “Add strong research and development, strong company commitment to innovation, many features – all while the cost stays reasonable – and then maintain hardware compatibility without requiring new hardware.”
Yep. That should do it.
AT A GLANCE
Company name: Elitecore Technologies
Flagship product: Cyberoam CR1500ia
Innovation: Developing a UTM product line that covers all customer types, and applying unique technology and business practices to do it.
Greatest strength: Powerful, positive application of globalization to a universal UTM product line.