Enterprise Security for Consumers?
In recent years, the fiercely competitive UTM market has focused on increasing its penetration in the enterprise market. However, UTM has traditionally been considered a small business play due to limited performance and integration but compelling price points. After years of improvements and innovations, UTM vendors now offer enterprise-grade products that compete with leading point products. While the focus on the high-end market is a respectable strategy, it is not unique. So when a UTM company announces a different strategy, it warrants further discussion.
Cyberoam, an India-based UTM vendor recently announced its NetGenie HOME UTM product. This device provides home router capabilities such as wireless b/g/n, 4 switch ports, and 3G support. NetGenie also includes essential UTM capabilities such as 20 Mbps of firewall throughput, anti-virus (AV), anti-spyware, intrusion prevention (IPS), and web filtering. More importantly, much thought has gone into the user interface to ensure that non-techie customers can deploy this in their homes. NetGenie accomplishes this through a Web page-style management interface with intuitive visual controls and reports. Web content is predefined and categorized based on age group and content to enable different access policies based on the user and time. Thus, parents can ensure that their children do not play games all day and are not exposed to inappropriate material. The $180 price tag may seem steep for a home product but it does include 3 years of AV, IPS, and content filtering updates.
However, Cyberoam faces a number of challenges. First, how do they increase customer awareness about a product like this? The average end-user will be unaware of the value of IPS or gateway AV. Most consumers are already well invested in endpoint security software and are not aware of the importance of layered defense. NetGenie’s gateway AV and Web filtering can greatly complement these investments and provide defense-in-depth for laptops and desktop computers that already have security software installed. The bigger selling point will be its ability to address tablets, smartphones, and gaming consoles. These devices are increasingly capable and are rarely protected by endpoint software. I firmly believe that these devices will be increasingly targeted by hackers over the coming years.
Furthermore, resellers don’t typically sell to consumers. The best channel for this product would be retailers, which is a rare channel for enterprise security vendors to interface with, including Cyberoam. Until this product gains momentum, NetGenie’s success hinges on Cyberoam’s ability to gain traction with service providers. Service providers seek to offer value-adding services to their customers and should consider the value of offering “Safe and Secure Internet Access” to their customer base. NetGenie could easily be bundled as a value-adding service or offered as an optional upgrade.
Now, Cyberoam is not the first UTM vendor to offer a small home router/firewall product. However, few products at this price/performance point have shown evidence of careful consideration to consumer-specific needs. Despite the user-friendly interface, it will take some time to increase customer awareness of the product’s value and importance. Additionally, the majority of consumers will fear the requirement for replacing existing routers, as well as the configuration process. Thus, it seems that the primary market for this will be limited to the more tech-savvy consumers for now.
Industry Analyst Chris Rodriguez can be found knee deep in spreadsheets or e-mailed here.
For additional analysis of this market, check out Frost & Sullivan’s annual global market study entitled Analysis of the Unified Threat Management (UTM) Market and the Impact of Convergence or learn more about Network Security.