Astaro: Can VARs Profit From Free Security?
You might never have heard of Astaro, so let me give you a quick rundown. They’re a relatively small company (less than 200 employees) with headquarters in Germany. But 60% of their business is outside Germany. Part of that strategy involves a free Software or VM Firewall image appliance based on Linux. They’re also doing some interesting innovation. VARs might want to take note of this quiet little company that’s starting to make some noise. Here’s why.
Astaro’s internet security business is based around Linux Appliances. You can buy hardware appliances, or download their software appliances. They have a variety of UTM solutions, from network security, anti-spam, gateway encryption, web security, and a host of other features. Plus, Astaro offer them to work in the VMware environment.
So what about that free firewall? Basically, Astaro gives you a starter appliance, offering a limited amount of functionally, but good enough. They call it the ‘essential edition’, and you can get it here for businesses (there’s a home edition, too.)
Off course, Astaro also wants to make money. Basically, they sell the subscriptions for different aforementioned services, and their channel partners can go in and switch the services on and off.
What’s next from Astaro? Watch for….
Astaro RED – April 2: The Remote Ethernet Device (RED ) is looking to change how VPNs and remote connections are made. The quick and dirty explanation: A box with two Ethernet ports and a specific serial number is used to connect small-branch offices or even a single user with the entire ‘mothership’ data center, wherever it may be.
Astaro’s RED box talks to a special central UTM gateway that is hosted in the cloud and managed by the partner or MSP. All the MSP has to do is alert the UTM to accept a new RED device and input the specific RED serial number. In theory, that’s super quick, clean, and transparent to the customer. Now, anything (device, server, appliance) and anyone connected to RED at the branch office (or home) can just jack in and act like they were on the main network. This potentially eliminates the problems of VPN tunning and IP address assigning. Price tag for the new gizmo? Just $295.
Email Archiving – May: This one’s simple. Flip a switch and all mail is archived to Amazon cloud. It allows also, for a hybrid solution on premise, too. And don’t worry, all backed-up data is encrypted and compressed as it goes away to Amazon’s cloud. But there’s more: using Astaro’s webclient or outlook plugin, you can browse the backed-up PST in real time.
New Wireless Security Solution – June 1: Astaro is looking to break out of the traditional use of consumer-grade devices for small WiFi solutions in the business marketplace.
Basically, Astaro’s software uses their UTM gateways as wireless controllers. They offer an 802.11n smoke-detector sized access point. They show up the in the GUI of the gateway, so the administrator can configure the access points and how they function. You can also use them as repeaters or have multiple SSIDs to control traffic or tweak it to act seamlessly for easy roaming about the office.
All three of these products are still in beta, with Astaro partners already using and testing the software.
But what’s their main strategy? Astaro CEO Jan Hichert says delivering a low-cost platform for security applications to partners is a top priority. Along the way, Astaro wants to help ensure solid partner profits by allowing partners to co-brand all products, services and software. Astaro also offers a 40% discount to channel partners.
Their central management solution — Astaro Command Center — is also free for partners.
We’ll be watching as the RED, Email Archiving and Wireless Security solutions arrive.