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Chessington, January 7, 2003 – Ideal, the UK arm of Bell Microproducts Inc., has today announced that it has become an accredited UK distributor for RSA Security Inc., one of the world’s foremost security software vendors. Under the terms of the agreement, Ideal has been awarded Premier Partner status within the RSA SecurWorld™ Partner Program.

The announcement is testament to Ideal’s increasing focus on the software and security markets, which saw many leading vendors sign the distributor up in the UK in 2002. Ideal will carry this commitment to providing excellence in data security solutions through 2003, said Alex Tatham, Vice President of Global Software at Bell Microproducts. “Security is without doubt the biggest opportunity facing the UK Channel in 2003. Don’t take my word for it but look at every magazine and independent survey published in the last few months. Protecting data is what Ideal has always been about and our major move into the security business should be seen as an extension of our excellence in data storage, back-up and recovery.

“I, personally, am delighted to be working with RSA Security. We worked hard to get this contract – this is excellent news for Ideal and for the UK reseller community,” Tatham said. “With our reputation for providing the highest levels of support to the channel and our pedigree as the thought leading UK distributor for specialist data related products, we are the natural choice for resellers and vendors in this market.”

RSA Security is widely recognised as one of the leading vendors of e-security solutions. Its comprehensive portfolio of e-security solutions includes authentication, digital certificate management software, Web access management and developer toolkits. Ideal will carry the RSA SecurID® two-factor authentication products out to the UK reseller channel, providing class-leading sales and technical support to resellers looking to build solid revenue streams in this rapidly evolving market.

RSA Security’s strong reputation is built on its history of innovation and leadership, award-winning solutions and long-standing relationships with more than 1,000 technology partners which means it was looking for the highest calibre distribution partner to bolster its UK channel. Ideal’s strength in the small and medium enterprise (SME) market and the complementary nature of its distributor relationship with Microsoft led RSA Security to select Ideal as a UK distributor. As part of its strategic agreement with Microsoft on security initiatives, RSA Security has given Microsoft a license for the RSA ACE/Agent® component of the RSA SecurID two-factor authentication software, allowing Microsoft the option of directly integrating the RSA SecurID agent into Microsoft applications. The first Microsoft product to use this capability is Microsoft’s Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000 (see separate announcement from RSA Security on January 7th, 2003).

“By working with Ideal, RSA Security aims to increase its penetration of the SME market significantly. A key focus will be recruitment of new resellers for RSA SecurID software, especially amongst Ideal’s strong base of Microsoft resellers.,” said Jan Lawford, UK regional director for RSA Security.


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About Ideal

Ideal is the UK subsidiary of the world’s largest storage-centric, value-added distributor, Bell Microproducts Inc. Ideal’s product portfolio includes a comprehensive range of data storage, systems, software and services solutions from over 80 market leading IT vendors including
HP/Compaq and Microsoft.

In 2001, Ideal divided its business into Volume, Enterprise and Services to provide added focus to the reseller channel, delivering the support of two separate, specialist sales solutions – Ideal and Ideal Enterprise Solutions.

The Ideal volume business continues to focus on delivering value to the channel for HDD, NAS, Tape, Optical, mass storage and components. Ideal Enterprise Solutions supports resellers in the management of customers’ enterprise storage and complex networking requirements, from conceptualisation through to installation and includes systems, software and LDI (License Desk on the internet).

In 2001, Ideal was awarded Storage Distributor of the Year for the third consecutive year.

About Bell Microproducts

Bell Microproducts is an international, value-added provider of a wide range of high-technology products, solutions, and services to the industrial and commercial markets. The company is an industry-recognized specialist in storage products and is one of the world's largest storage-centric value-added distributors with offices in the Americas and Europe. More information can be found in the company's SEC filings, or by visiting the Bell Microproducts Web site at .

Safe Harbor Statement

This release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements, which reflect the Company's current views of future events and financial performance, involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results or facts to differ materially from such statements for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to: the ability to successfully integrate the operations of recent acquisitions, industry conditions, changes in product supply, pricing, and customer demand, competition, other vagaries in the computer and electronic components markets, changes in relationships with key suppliers, foreign currency fluctuations and the other risks described from time to time in the Company's reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (including the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K). Investors should take such risks into account when making investment decisions. Shareholders and other readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. The company undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements.

RSA, SecurID, Keon, ClearTrust, SecurWorld and The Most Trusted Name in e-Security are either registered trademarks or trademarks of RSA Security Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. All other products and services mentioned are trademarks of their respective companies.

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