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Tech Data ‘Maniacally Focused’ on Security

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James AndersonTECH DATA CHANNEL LINK — Tech Data touted its sales-enablement offerings and recently launched security unit to partners at its annual channel event Wednesday.

The distributor has assembled partners and vendors for the Channel Link conference this week in Atlanta.

Tech Data dedicated about an hour of its first session to making its audience aware of security risks that partners and their clients face.

Tech Data's John (JT) Tonnison“We’re maniacally focused on this,” said Marty Bauerlein, Tech Data’s senior vice president of U.S. sales. “We’re going to make sure we’re the leader in this industry in terms of security.”

Chief Information Officer John (JT) Tonnison laid out a litany of hacks and breaches that have plagued big-name corporations and tech companies in recent years. He warned that our “digital lifestyle and digital economy” come with inherent dangers.

“We are in a huge state of denial about the risks we live in day to day,” he said.

Tonnison said Tech Data itself handles approximately 60,000 attacks per day, and that’s small potatoes compared to the U.S. Navy, which sees more than 100,000 attacks per hour.

“The cost of recovery is great for a small business, and it will put you out of business potentially,” said Harry Paris, co-founder of the Tennessee-based George Paris.{ad}

Tonnison said cybercriminals have their own sophisticated industry that exists on the dark web, ranging from “hacktivists” to organized crime.

“I postulate now for discussion and thought that the world is entirely changed, and we are now and should consider that our technological assets are submerged [in attacks],” he said.

His recommendation: Partners ought to “design for and around” the existing threats.

Tech Data rolled out a new security and information management business unit last month, and two of the unit’s executives, Tracy Holtz and Brian Davis, spoke to Channel Partners about its progress.

They said they’re busy getting team members up to speed, working on enablement opportunities and coordinating with Tech Data’s business in Europe. Holtz said another discussion revolves around the type of portfolio it will offer. She said security analytics, remediation solutions and security-awareness opportunities are a part of the mix. But she said the unit also will likely include taking on an advisory role to “navigate the complexity of security.”

“It’s extremely fragmented,” said Holtz, the unit’s director of product marketing. “They struggle with which are the right technologies that they should bring in-house, what’s the right expertise, all of those things. We’ll have that consultative approach to help them.”

Davis, Tech Data’s senior vice president of product marketing, said the security unit mirrors much of what Tonnison said in his keynote about recognizing …

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… the reality of cyber threats.

“What Tech Data has to bring to our resellers is the ability to look at the assumption that there will be a penetration,” Davis said.

Taking Advantage

An introductory video featuring Muhammad Ali drove home Tech Data’s theme of helping their partners be the best they can be. But Bauerlein argued that partners need to do more in order to reach their full potential. He urged members of the audience to take advantage of the full support offered by Tech Data.

For example, he said only 76 out of 300 partners he surveyed at the conference told him they use Tech Data’s pre-sales engineering.{ad}

“This isn’t about replacing your engineers,” he said. “This is about supplementing what you already have. This is about making you guys more efficient, and you should be leveraging this.”

Bauerlein’s enablement talk included highlights of the distributor’s recent ventures. One of those talking points is the growth of its public-sector activities. He said the company has seen a 15 percent increase in the government, education and health-care verticals.

Tech Data Cloud

Tech Data's Stacy NethercoatTech Data announced Wednesday that its cloud business unit is bringing on a community of independent software vendors (ISVs) to support the Microsoft services that the distributor offers.

“We’re at a point in the evolution of this journey where adding to a catalog is a core execution engine that’s going to go on, really, into perpetuity,” said Stacy Nethercoat, vice president of Americas Cloud Computing at Tech Data. “At any point in time, you’ll see new vendors, new entrants, new technology, innovation — perhaps focused on specific verticals. I don’t think you ever end this journey.”

Since February, the unit has added three dedicated field resources for a total of four. It also has been quietly rolling out enhancements to its cloud marketplace, StreamOne Solutions Store. The company plans to announce other cloud-related news at the Microsoft World Wide Partner Conference in July.

In the meantime, Nethercoat predicted that Tech Data Cloud’s growth will continue.

“We firmly believe that cloud will continue to grow in the triple digits, will continue to grow in terms of its materiality in the channel,” she said. “That’s why we are making the investment that we are making in people, in technology, in capabilities to be there to help our partners take advantage of the opportunity.”


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