Websense Makes Push for SMBs

Websense has re-engineered its flagship Web security enterprise product for small and midsize businesses.

In an attempt to compete at the midmarket level, Websense has re-engineered its flagship security product with a new interface and simplified installation.

The new software, called Websense Express, leverages the companys ThreatSeeker technology, which scans millions of Web sites for security threats.

"A lot of the SMBs [small and midsize businesses] tend to think that just because they have firewalls or anti-virus in place that they are already protected. But the reality is they are still getting infected," said Steve Kelley, senior director of product management at Websense.

Kelley said Websenses move to secure midsize organizations is part of a broader corporate strategy to bring its technology to an underserved SMB market.

"We dont look at this as kind of a one trick pony, or a one product solution; we look at Express as kind of a platform for future growth," he said. "We did not want to take the enterprise product, de-feature it, and try to shoehorn it into the SMB market."

Yankee Group analyst Gary Chen said the functionality seems like a good fit for SMBs, noting that easy installation and a streamlined GUI are attractive at the midmarket level.

"Websense hasnt played in SMB before," Chen said. "They were really only in large enterprises. So this is their first foray."

Calling it a good first effort, Chen said the company still had a long way to go.

"They need to promote their brand to SMBs; right now they are really only recognized in large enterprises," he said. "Theyll also be putting together an SMB channel and tweaking their channel program to target a different set of partners. Those are the two things that take the longest."

Websense is not the only security vendor announcing plans to target the midmarket as of late. McAfee unveiled a similar strategy recently as well, and vendors such as Symantec, Trend Micro and others continue to vie for a larger share of the SMB market.

Along with the new software, Websense has also established a SMB Solutions Center, for customers and channel partners that provides educational resources and access to a free 15-day Websense Express evaluation.

The software is priced at $20.50 per user, per year for 1 to 250 users and $15.50 per user, per year for 251 to 1,000 users. Discounts are available for multiyear subscriptions, company officials said.

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