Intelligent CIO caught up with A10 Networks’ EMEA Partner Director, Chris Gale, at GITEX 2017 to discuss the company’s plans for the event and to gain insight into the DDoS landscape in the Middle East.
Q: What is A10 focusing on for this year’s GITEX?
A: A10 offer very high-performance networking and security equipment. The strongest market that we’re in is tier one telephone and service providers and hosters. We have quite a defined market that we go after. Aptec Ingram are our distributor here; we handle very big projects, so we need a very significant distributor to support us both commercially and technically.
GITEX is the perfect place to meet, not just the senior executives but also the technical leads and lots of other people in a short space of time, for us this is the premier event in the Middle East.
Q: Is A10 promoting any new solutions this week?
A: Not specifically, but the whole of our security suite is broadening and emerging. We’re very much focused more on the security side of our business than on the more traditional low-balancing and carry a great network, which we still look after.
Q: Are you looking to form new channel partnerships?
A: We’ve spent the last 12 months building up the channel relationship, so we’re not looking to sign any new ones at this stage. I think the big thing that we’re focused now on is going deeper with the existing partners, that we make sure they’re trained, they have knowledge of our products, that we help them go and find new customers, and really go drive what we have with existing partners.
Q: What regional challenges exist for the Middle East when it comes to DDoS attacks?
A: The European market has probably had more large-scale denial of service attacks then this region and so they’re still learning what the potential risks are and starting to get their heads around it. Especially the very large volumetric denial of service attacks. The multipliers that we’re seeing in the size of these attacks is growing dramatically.
There’s two different pieces to it, can you mitigate a denial of service? Well, lots of people can go and do that, but can you do it very, very quickly? If you’ve got a large online presence, which we’re starting to see the emergence of here, it’s all very well mitigating the denial of service, but if it takes an hour to do it, an hours training on an online platform is a lot of time. It’s getting the understanding of not just mitigating the hit you take, but also doing it at the time you take that hit.
It’s also making companies consider that it’s their responsibility and not just to rely on the host or service provider and that they need to understand the mechanics behind it. Basically, to make conscious business decisions rather than just let someone else take care of it and hope for the best. It’s very much an educational thing, I would say.
Q: What new challenges do increasing volumes of network traffic bring to network managers?
A: It’s always going to be a balance between end user experience and cost. For example, you go and use your mobile phone, you can go to an online ticket reservation system, you want to book at an aeroplane ticket or you buy something, you want that experience to be fast. If you go and look at security, encryption keys are getting bigger, so you need more processing accounts to look after the encryption of the data. The volume of traffic is going up because more people are using online capabilities and we’re using richer media.
If you look at three years out, the explosion of growth we’ve seen for the past three years, it’s not going to slow down. I think the challenge is how do you put a platform in place that works today but will also have enough headroom for the future. Again, it’s a scale of growth. That’s one of the strengths of A10, is we can start on working with this size, scale and grow it to nearly infinitesimal amounts of performance. Again, it’s working out the cost of today but making sure you’ve got the kind of legroom for the future.
Q: What are A10’s priorities for the next two years?
A: Scale, performance and security. We’re in very good shape for it as well because we started with the right set of components to go and do it. It’s not as if we’ve got to go and rebuild and rearchitect. If you look at some of the more traditional security companies, they’ve built something that is very good at analysing and looking at data but you have to question whether it’s got the ability to scale and grow and ready for us to move forward.