The US company will operate out of Reading, Berkshire, providing on-site support for its reseller channel on the Eagle family of firewall security and management software. Firewalls - software to protect against Internet hacking - have grown with the Net as companies seek to protect data.
Vice-president and general manager of European operations Jack Hembrough said that firewall technology was advancing quickly. "The first-generation firewalls were router or packet filter based; that is now inadequate," Hembrough said. "People were making their own firewalls and finding out it wasn't safe. You have to have protection from outside access and internal segments. 80 per cent of hacking is by trusted agents, like the guy who wasn't happy with his pay rise.
"It's not just security, it's about control and productivity of the network. The IT manager wants to know whether users are getting a detailed knowledge of playboy.com or polishing up their network Doom skills. A good firewall also has to interface to other security tools that system integrators use."
Raptor is unusual among Internet companies in that it is actually making a small profit, even if it doesn't reflect its stock market valuation that drifts between an unfeasible $200 million and $300 million range. For the quarter ending June 30, Raptor made close to $3 million in revenues and $150,000 in profit; not a great deal, but evidence that, as Internet and intra-net groupware solutions gain favour, there's cash to be made in what is sure to be an explosive market. Certainly, the expertise of these smaller players will appeal to system integrators so look out for plenty of mergers and acquisitions as the big names seek off-the-shelf skills.