WatchGuard Debuts XCS Security Platform

WatchGuard's multitiered Extensible Content Security platform is aimed at cost-conscious businesses and enterprises alike.

Security solutions specialist WatchGuard Technologies is making a foray into the messaging and content security markets with the launch of the WatchGuard XCS (Extensible Content Security) platform.

As a platform for small to midsize business (SMB) e-mail and Web 2.0 content security, the XCS platform combines cloud-based security, data loss prevention and messaging security technologies into a single, user-friendly appliance that helps defend businesses against phishing attacks, identity theft, viruses, malware, data loss and other forms of network, application and data threats.

The XCS platform provides what WatchGuard calls "defense-in-depth" protection by combining e-mail inspection technologies with data loss prevention capabilities and IP reputation to combat spam, viruses, malware and other forms of blended threats. Designed to address a range of business needs, the XCS platform provides e-mail security needs of midmarket companies (up to 1,000 users) with the WatchGuard XCS 170, 370 and 570 series, and for midtier and enterprise organizations (10,000 or more users) that require advanced messaging and content protection, the company is offering the XCS 770, 970 and 1170 series of appliances.

According to market research, the estimated total addressable market for messaging and Web content security is $6.8 billion for 2010, and it is expected to grow at 11.2 percent per year. Similar in size, the addressable market for WatchGuard's current family of multifunction firewall and SSL VPN solutions is $4.7 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of 9.9 percent. With the launch of the XCS platform, WatchGuard said it is nearly doubling its reach to an addressable market of $11.5 billion, which is expected to hit $15 billion by 2012.

Similarly, the growth of e-mail and Web-related threats is expected to increase exponentially. WatchGuard security analysts predict that messaging and Web-based content threats will increase by a factor of three in 2010. They predict that polymorphic viruses, botnets and blended threats will propagate in new ways, fueled by social networking, collaboration applications and other Web 2.0 venues.

"With the expected growth of new messaging and Web-based threats, businesses should review and evaluate their security posture to make sure that they have capable, flexible and scalable protection against these new threats," said Brian Burke, program director for security products at technology research firm IDC. "By embracing a holistic security architecture, businesses can reduce their risk and exposure to these new forms of threats."

All of the XCS appliances take advantage of WatchGuard's in-the-cloud security technology, ReputationAuthority. With a claimed 99.99 percent accuracy, ReputationAuthority eliminates up to 98.3 percent of spam e-mail before it ever gets to a business network, WatchGuard officials said. For SMBs, the WatchGuard XCS appliances start at $2,475 with no per-user license fee limitation. The enterprise-grade XCS appliances range from $8,000 to $60,000.

"Next-generation threats are becoming more sophisticated and stealthy. Because of this, businesses today face unprecedented risk and exposure from e-mail and Web-related threats," said WatchGuard CEO Joe Wang. "By combining WatchGuard's state-of-the-art multifunction firewall appliances with the new XCS line of messaging and content security solutions, businesses gain a complete, multifaceted and multilayered defense architecture that is highly effective, extremely efficient and easy to manage."