Symantec owns the security software, 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
10 contenders chosen by VARs.
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
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.
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.
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 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.