CXP 2006: Secure in Security

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

At the Check Point Experience (CXP) 2006, held at Bangkok, the company had

little reason to announce any drastic changes in its business plans. So, Bill

Shwed, founder, chairman and chief executive officer, Check Point Software

Technologies went ahead and claimed the obvious: Check Point was one of the few

remaining pure-play security vendors left in the world. Shwed insists, “We

believe security is a layer in itself. It is not just something that can be

dumped in the network, or in the router or a switch.”


With security strategy getting integrated into the plans of most networking

equipment vendors; and Check Point grossing only about half a billion dollars in

FY 2005, the company's claim may not sound impressive. But even with its

relatively meager revenue, the company had profits in the range of 55% for FY

2005 ($579 mn in gross revenue and $319 mn in net profit). But pure-play tag

labels the company in more ways than one, in some cases much to the disdain of

the company. The company sometimes faces a steep challenge in breaking out of

the mould of a firewall-only company. So, Shwed was keen to point out,

“Everything we sell is VPN. It may have firewall capabilities, but it is VPN.

The main client is called VPN 1. I believe that of the new product sales, it is

about 70%, in revenue terms.”

Ashish Sud, business

manager, Security Services, HCL Comnet, receiving the award for 'Fastest

growing partner in India' from Jerry Ungerman, president and director on

Board; and Gil Shwed, founder, chairman of the Board and chief executive

officer of Check Point Software Technologies during Checkpoint Experience

2006 at Bangkok. More than 500 delegates from about 25 countries were

present at the function.

The growing importance of India, in Check Point's plan is also not a new

thing. Check Point India is ahead of its Chinese counterpart in terms of new

sales, as well as installed base. The growth is also reflected in its growing

India team, from one to six persons in about a year, “With potential for

more,” according to Jerry Ungerman, vice-chairman, Check Point. Scott

Ferguson, regional vice-president, ANZ and South Asia added that companies like

“Bharti and BSNL pushing out their ADSL strategies, rolling broadband to the

business and the home” their data business would grow, obviously expanding the

market for Check Points products. On a global level too, “The growth is

getting some good traction in the medium business market. The challenge for the

future is to perform well that is where the growth will come from,” said


The largest

participation in CXP 2006 was from Indian delegates, and Shwed confirmed

that India was the company's second biggest market in the region, after


However, not everything went as per the plan of the company. Having realized

that IPS/IDP was the missing piece in its security offerings, the company last

year was on the verge of acquiring Sourcefire. US regulators, which did not want

the company's 'critical' technology in 'foreign' hands, scuttled the

deal. Despite that, Shwed said they were open to a licensing deal with

Sourcefire. However, Sourcefire has recently teamed up with Nokia to provide

intrusion prevention. Nokia has had a long relationship with Check Point, and

the deal could effectively put a question mark on the company's plans of a

licensing deal with Sourcefire.

Shwed, however, says that despite the Sourcefire imbroglio, the company is

committed to acquire the IPS capabilities by OEMing or even by acquiring other

companies. The conclusion is simple. Check Point is on the prowl again, and

depending on their inclination, small security vendors either need to watch out,

or make sure that they are watched.

Alok Singh

The author was hosted in Bangkok by Check Point