An Interview with Jamie Pearce, WatchGuard Technologies

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During a lovely lunch at Kettners with WatchGuard’s UK & Ireland regional sales manager, Jamie Pearce, we talked UTM performance issues, 2013 threats, and the advantages of an industry rich in M&A…

UTM (Unified Threat Management), says Pearce, is “having a resurgence”. Why? Because blended threat attacks are increasingly popular, meaning there “are so many ways of getting malware into an organization, no longer one single point of infection”.

The advantage of UTM products, he said, is that they have “one holistic view” over an organisation’s security posture.

Pearce admits that traditionally, UTM technology often suffers with performance challenges. “No one vendor can be good at everything, I don’t deny that. If your core technology is hardware and then you bolt on software, you get a reduction in speed and performance issues.”

WatchGuard have re-architected their software to make the firmware independent of the hardware layer, which Pearce argues gets around any performance challenges. “We’re the fastest UTM vendor”, he told me. I can neither confirm nor deny that claim.

“We’re not trying to be a web security company”, Pearce said, “we just integrate best-of-breed technology into our product. We deliver performance by picking best in class technology”, he declared.

‘Making security easy’ is WatchGuard’s mantra, I’m told. According to a 2011 Gartner report, more than 95% of firewall breaches are caused by firewall misconfigurations, not flaws, which makes the importance of simplicity crystal clear.

Pearce was a Borderware employee when the firm was acquired by WatchGuard, and described the acquisition as painless, with all staff – and the company’s Canadian HQ – being retained.

His opinion on M&A activity in the information security industry is thus positive, and he described it as “healthy and enabling”. In this particular case, the acquisition allowed Borderware to “take enterprise security to SMBs. It also allowed us to develop at a much faster speed.”

Discussing the future of information security threats, Pearce declared a “new series of threats which will drive the need for new security technologies which only smaller innovative companies can deliver.”

Below, I list WatchGuard’s predictions for the threat landscape in 2013:

  • • Malware will enter the matrix through a virtual door
  • • Malware will go after your browser, not your system
  • • Strike Back will get a lot of lip service, but will do little good
  • • The industry will pay for a lack of IPv6 expertise
  • • Android pick pockets will try to empty mobile wallets
  • • An exploit sold on the ‘vulnerability market’ will becomes the next APT
  • • Important cyber security-related legislation will finally become law
  • • A cyber attack will result in a human death

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