Secure access company Appgate is expanding its presence in the UK and Ireland with the appointments a new Director of Channel Sales EMEA and its first UK and Ireland distribution partner. James Goulding reports
As an expert in Software Defined Perimeter (SDP) solutions, Appgate is riding a growing wave of interest in Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), inspired in part by the scattering of organisations’ workforces over the last 18 months and the implications that hybrid working has for data security.
ZTNA, a term coined by Gartner, is a framework of products and services, including SDP, that provides government and mid to large enterprises with seamless, scalable, secure remote access across cloud, legacy, hybrid and IoT environments. It does this by creating an access boundary around an application or set of applications that can only be accessed once the identity, context and policy adherence of a user or device is proven.
By changing the security mindset from ‘connect first, trust second’ to ‘trust first, connect second’, Zero Trust represents a new approach to securing today’s more agile, distributed organisations that Fiona Doak, Appgate’s recently appointed Director of Channel Sales EMEA, says is long overdue.
“There is no point allowing someone into your network and then going we need to authenticate you and have them move laterally. That’s what attracted me to Appgate in the first place – the fact that we prevent that from happening and that we support and heavily endorse that whole ‘trust first, connect second’ piece. It is vital that organisations of any vertical alignment adopt that strategy now. It is no longer good enough not to.”
She points out that traditional approaches to security were out of date long before the pandemic hit, but that the last 18 months, when employees have needed to access applications and data from anywhere, have really reinforced the need for a new strategy.
“The idea that we have all grown up with – that there is a defined perimeter and we put everything inside the castle walls and look after it there – is no longer the case. That perimeter died a very long time ago, and definitely died last March when the pandemic hit and millions of companies across the world had to send people home. In doing so, they were moving their perimeter and making the user that perimeter,” she said.
Appgate, recently named a Leader in The Forrester Wave: Zero Trust eXtended Ecosystem Platform Providers report, supports this change by providing a secure access platform based on the principles of Zero Trust security.
“We provide secure access for that user into infrastructure that they need to attach to and then the applications that they need to communicate with. It’s about being able to do that seamlessly, securely and easily – particularly in current times when people have had to turn into the IT experts they never really wanted to be – and deliver that without any degradation or issue to the user. That, in a nutshell, is what we do. We provide that secure, seamless access.”
Doak argues that a software-defined solution like Appgate’s is a more effective way of meeting today’s security needs than trying to cobble something together from legacy solutions.
“Legacy technology, which was great back in the day, doesn’t necessarily stack up any more. A software-defined perimeter and a software solution is generally much more acceptable, easier to deploy, easier to change and easier to adapt to an organisation’s growing, stretching, moving horizon. I think the pandemic has certainly focused people’s minds on what they do now and how to do it differently,” she said.
“I’ve only been here for three and a half months but what I have seen in that time is a huge appetite from customers and partners alike to reinvent or change direction in terms of what they have done before and how they see the future in terms of their security strategy. They are all talking about Zero Trust and ZTNA. I’ve spoken to many partners who have said they need to think about this differently and be that trusted advisor to customers who, in a world where flexible working is the norm, need a solution that is fit for twenty first century technology and strategy.”
The appointment of Kite Distribution – its first distributor in the UK and Ireland – will help Appgate to exploit growing interest in its solution amongst mid-market, enterprise and public sector organisations and expand the partner network it has built up over the six plus years it has been operating in the UK and EMEA.
“We have a handful of partners that we are working with now, and we plan to grow that. We are looking for security-focused partners with an appetite not just to sell us in isolation, although that it always good, but to add value by combining us with other technologies that they can sell and wrap services around. I am very passionate about having the opportunity to help partners sell their value-add, not just by selling the solution I’m working with, but by articulating how that integrates with other things that they do.”
With more than 25 years’ experience in the cyber security sector, working for companies like TrapX Security, WhiteHat Security, InfoBlox, F5 Networks and RSA Security, Doak is clearly energised by her latest move and the opportunities Appgate offers for existing and future channel partners.
“I do think it’s exciting, because there is a major shift happening. You would have to have been living under a rock for the last 5 or 10 years not to realise that there’s been a shift away from legacy, quite static, difficult to implement technology to something that’s much more effective,” she said.