Sidewinder firewall brand takes a back seat

Secure Computing will rename its Sidewinder, IronMail, and Webwasher firewalls and security products

After the Linksys company name change that never happened, Secure Computing has plumped for the second-best option. The company has announced plans to rebrand most of its product line.

Starting March 17, its Sidewinder firewall will become Secure Firewall (Sidewinder), IronMail will become Secure Mail (IronMail), Webwasher will become Secure Web (Webwasher), and SafeWord will remain plain SafeWord.

The company has also overhauled its previously text-based corporate logo, opting for a snazzier design with a wave image and the word "secure" in large text. The word "computing" is now barely visible.

"We recognized that the unrelated corporate brand and product names could be confusing, and therefore we are renaming our product categories to present a clear, concise set of integrated solutions that work together with the Secure brand," said an announcement to customers this week.

The company still has other products apparently not covered by the new re-naming wheeze, including its small office and consumer line of products, SnapGear. Run as separate brand, SnapGear remains slightly at arm's length from the rest of the lines.

Does re-branding matter to anyone outside the marketing department and the board? On the face of it, the brand names that are being relegated to parenthesis -- SideWinder for instance -- have recognition, something that is lost by the foregrounding of the generic word "Secure."

The SideWinder firewall also has a small place in firewall history thanks to the Sidewinder Challenge, an open gauntlet thrown down to hackers to try and break its security. It emerged proudly unscathed.

Rumor has it that a rival company even took to playing REM's song "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight" when promoting its products against Secure Computing at shows in the U.K. as a backhanded compliment. The gimmick flopped. Customers flocked to the Secure Computing stand, intrigued by the enigmatic lyrics.

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