As enterprise networking product companies go downmarket via acquisition (Cisco bought Linksys several years ago), Netgear is bucking that trend and going upmarket. They acquired an enterprise security company last year named CP Secure and are using that technology to move up from their traditional consumer and small business niche into larger companies. Their new network appliances support up to 600 concurrent users.
So why is Netgear taking on folks like SonicWall, WatchGuard, and Barracuda? They told me they feel their new ProSecure products have large company power with small company ease of installation and management. They also feel larger small companies (or smaller large companies) are being underserved by enterprise vendors who's products are too complicated and expensive for a medium-sized company.
Marketing-speak aside, they are correct that companies without an IT person on staff have plenty of options, as do companies with 10 or more IT people on staff. That middle ground, where one to a handful of IT people try to do everything, should appreciate more security power for less security budget. And if Netgear has added in the ease of use they claim, they deserve a close look.
Prices for the appliances start at around $1000 street for anti-spam, anti-virus, Web filtering, and other security features. The low end box is available now, and the middle and large boxes are coming in another month or so. Street price for the high end box should be in the $4000 range.
If your company is in the 50-500 user range, you have several security appliance options. Netgear's ProSecure adds another. Since security needs stay constant even as your budget shrinks, another option and more competition in the market should work out well for small and medium businesses everywhere.