Perimeter 81 Looks to Take Firewall Appliances Out

Perimeter 81 has raised an additional $40 million in funding as part of an effort to eliminate the need to rely on firewalls in the form of an appliance to secure perimeters.

Company CEO Amit Bareket said now that many employees are working from home for the foreseeable future, there is effectively no network perimeter for a firewall to defend—the perimeter now extends all the way to an endpoint that employees are using to directly access both cloud and on-premises applications. That shift requires security software to be deployed on an endpoint to enable them to access networking services that include embedded firewall functions, he said.

To achieve that goal, Perimeter 81 includes as part of its offering firewall-as-a-service software developed SonicWall, which is both an investor in Perimeter 81 and a reseller of the service.

The battle to provide secure networking services is heating up in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, organizations of all sizes focused their efforts on enabling employees to work from home using virtual private networks (VPNs). However, managing VPNs at scale is both problematic and expensive. As such, more organizations are evaluating networking services that can be co-managed with a provider, with the provider managing the core networking and security infrastructure and internal IT team continuing to manage individual end users via a self-service portal based on the multi-tenant architecture created by the network service provider.

Perimeter 81 claims to already have nearly 1,000 customers, with annual recurring revenue growing 400% annually.

It’s unclear to what degree the management of networking and security services will converge as the need for IT teams to deploy and manage individual appliances declines. Competition among providers of what amounts to a secure software-defined wide area network delivered as a service is already fierce. In addition to relative newcomers like Perimeter 81, established providers of network and security appliances are launching rival services. Plus, telecommunication providers, cloud service providers and other types of managed service providers (MSPs) are extending the scope of the networking services they provide.

IT teams in the meantime will need to decide to what degree they want to continue to manage networking and security appliances. While it’s possible to remotely manage those appliances, there usually comes a time when someone has to physically touch an appliance. That’s becoming increasingly difficult for IT teams to do when most organizations are limiting travel to help combat the spread of the pandemic. It’s simply easier to essentially outsource the management of both virtual and physical appliances to a third party.

Of course, IT teams will need to have a lot of confidence in those providers. Given the current IT environment, however, there are undoubtedly a lot more organizations considering the services option.

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Michael Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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