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Consolidation's impact on best-of-breed security

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"If the solution comes from a smaller company, that is fine with me," Silvera says. "Smaller companies are always interested in new sales, and go out of their way to work with you. Since they're smaller, we'd get a closer touch from them. At the same time, I will always be concerned a smaller player with a successful product might be absorbed by a larger organization and then we go right back to the question of the viability of smaller vendors."

Houghton Mifflin is a Qualys customer and relies on its software delivered as a service (SaaS) over the Web to manage network vulnerabilities. Qualys chairman and CEO Philippe Courtout says his company recognized the disintegration of network perimeters long ago and gambled on moving his company to the SaaS model. Rather than innovating on technology, the change in the delivery mechanism helps maintain Qualys' viability as a pure-play.

Cote, meanwhile, doesn't anticipate the market to shrink; if smaller vendors are bought, another will pop up like a weed to take its place. But that doesn't mean he's not watching his pure-play vendors--like Qualys.

"Qualys is something I've thought about. They've got a good reputation," he says. "Quite frankly it surprises me they have not been purchased."

Channel Surfing

Don't talk to Trend Micro CEO Eva Chen about infrastructure

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players being the great aggregators of technology. Her vision is skewed in another direction--one that enables companies like hers to maintain their viability as a standalone provider of security technology.

"The user sees the whole network as one solution, but no one vendor can provide for the whole network," Chen says. "Although we say security should be inside the network, the network includes the ISP, routers, switches, OSes, applications and security. No vendor can provide all those. The only one who can aggregate that for the end user is the VAR."

Chen sees a new channel that unites once separate hardware and software providers.

"They used to be separate resellers, now one is emerging. Network and application providers are merging," Chen says. "Some customers want best-of-breed solutions, so for a pure-play like Trend Micro, it's important for us to be ahead of our domain, and second, our technology and offerings need to be customizable and easy for integrators to integrate into the network."

--MICHAEL S. MIMOSO

This was first published in September 2007

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