Network Associates extends support services to hardware

Network Associates Inc. has unveiled a new support service called PrimeSupport Hardware Program, which is designed to provide customers with fixes for all their installed network infrastructure hardware.

Jack Sebbag, Canadian general manager and vice-president, Network Associates in Montreal said the hardware service program is now “much needed” and “long overdue.”

At one time, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based security solutions company offered an integrated service program, but it was eventually rolled into the company’s software support program, he said.

“Up until recently we didn’t have a very large hardware products offering,” Sebbag said, adding that the company did not really have a use for a hardware support program. However, hardware started to become more of an integrated part of the company’s security solutions, as Network Associates started to offer antivirus software on their own appliances, such as servers and other hardware.

“It became evident that we needed an infrastructure to be able to support this kind of program,” he said. “From a hardware perspective we needed to be able to offer a scalable solution depending on the customers need.”

Sebbag said Network Associates main focus will continue to be on software, and the move to include installed network infrastructure hardware support doesn’t necessarily mean it will move more into the hardware realm.

“We are offering more software solutions in appliances,” he said.

Network Associates put together the PrimeSupport Hardware Program which includes 24×7 service at a cost of about 12 to 18 per cent of the hardware list price, Sebbag said.

The program currently offers two support options and an additional option for third-party hardware solutions – PrimeSupport Onsite, PrimeSupport RMA and Return-to-Factory Service.

For customers who don’t need immediate onsite assistance, Network Associates PrimeSupport RMA enables customers to receive a necessary replacement unit or component within one business day after the service call is received, Network Associates said. Replacement parts are shipped overnight airfreight.

Existing Network Associates hardware customers may choose to have their existing PrimeSupport agreement honoured until expiration, or may add the appropriate new level of Hardware PrimeSupport.

The company has partnered with Getronics – a worldwide provider of vendor-independent solutions and services to IT professionals – to keep response times as efficient as possible, Sebbag said. In Canada, Getronics has offices in Toronto and Ottawa.

The fact that Getronics will provide support on behalf of Network Associates is a move that Whitby, Ont.-based Albert Daoust, services analyst at Evans Research Corp. said is a smart move.

“Getronics is well-qualified to handled complex problems, high volume calls,” he said, adding that the company is a deep reach of skilled employees.

Otherwise, Network Associates are offering a standard program and “in all likelihood it will be highly successful,” Daoust said.

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