It’s a small world for Australia’s security vendors

Half a dozen engineers that recently left security vendor Fortinet have resurfaced at Reflex Security which officially opened its Australian headquarters in Sydney last week.

The newly appointed ANZ sales director at Reflex Security, Colin Lim, is a former senior executive from Fortinet.

Lim is one of half a dozen executives that have managed the ANZ operations of Fortinet since 2004.

Only this week Fortinet announced the appointment of a new local country manager, Charles Cote, the former head of Extreme Networks.

The revolving door at Fortinet is proof that Australia’s network security industry is indeed a small world.

Prior to Cote, James Davey was running Fortinet’s local operations.

He followed other Fortinet country managers including Steve Clark (formerly of Trend Micro), Ben Teh (former WatchGuard country manager) and Peter Sandilands (industry veteran and former Check Point Australia managing director).

Questioned about his departure from Fortinet, Lim was tight-lipped but he was keen to talk about the local expansion of Reflex Security, an intrusion prevention systems (IPS) vendor offering one of the industry’s first virtual security appliances that provides protection within virtualized computing environments.

While there is yet to be a widely published security breach in a virtualized environment, Lim said it will happen in the next 12 months and the company has a role to play in educating the local market.

“Any VMWare customer is a potential customer for us; with virtualization increasingly being rolled out organizations will have to start thinking about how they will secure the technology because it isn’t 100 per cent secure,” Lim said.

He admitted it is tough developing a mindset around securing virtualization because it is such a new technology.

“This is particularly true at board level. Start talking virtualization and eyes start to glaze over so you can imagine how tough it is when you start talking about how to secure it,” he said.

“When the bad guys get root access to a virtual machine the world is their oyster.”

The vendor’s virtualization product is only three months old but Lim expects solid takeup which will drive further expansion for Reflex Security in the local market. Lim expects to recruit another four staff during the year, adding that Australian customers are skeptical if a vendor doesn’t have local representation.

“Australian customers expects vendors from the US to invest locally and to provide solid support,” he said.

The global CEO of Reflex Security is Jim Watson, who spent 10 years in Australia and established Gartner’s APAC operations 20 years ago.

Fortinet did not comment on recent staff departures but released a statement stating that Cote’s appointment as country manager will be key to the company’s expansion locally.

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