Enterprises will put a lot of money into security infrastructure purchases in 2015, building on investment that surged in 2014 as the North American economy grew stronger. To be sure, the adoption of cloud services and mobility are forcing businesses to scrutinize and shore up their security, Infonetics Research found in its latest report, “Global Telecom and Datacom Market Trends and Drivers.” No surprise, then, that several channel partners and other industry insiders identify security as a top pain point for organizations throughout the coming year.
Indeed, as businesses grapple with the effects of cloud and mobility deployments, expect them to look to you for help. But to be effective, you must meet certain criteria, sources told Channel Partners in interviews for a larger article, which is slated to run in the next issue of the magazine. For now, here are the top tips for serving security-hungry end users.
1. Be able to address all security concerns, rather than just one area such as IaaS or MDM, said Angie Tocco, co-founder of LanYap Networks. Approaching security with a holistic view not only demonstrates your expertise to the client, it contributes to reducing the chances of a breach.
2. Stay on top of the latest cyber threats and be ready to talk about them with your customers. For example, “the Crypto-virus variants have created a significant scare,” said Jeff McDermott, president of American Technology Specialists. In response to such developments, ATS asked its IT team to write white papers on the common security questions and concerns facing small businesses. “We use these papers as ways to begin a discussion with the customers on what they can do differently or better,” McDermott said, adding that this basic education enables ATS to sell platforms that mitigate security breaches, or recover data if a network is hacked.
3. Make sure the right people have access to the right data at all times, said Doug Grabowski, managing partner of Grabowski Group Inc. Doing that well requires teaming with the right vendors, and then providing managed and professional services on top of those products. Mitigating risk through both technology and process improvement puts partners “more than ever in a position to be embedded in client organizations,” Grabowski added.
4. Specialize in regulation and its impact on technology buying as laws such as HIPAA and SOX are putting companies in a “catch-up” position. Businesses are trying to comply with government mandates while also trying to adopt cloud computing and mobility, said John Fakhoury, founder and CEO of Framework Communications. They want to know whether Google Mail, for example, will fit their security needs, or how they can find an affordable, HIPAA-compliant email platform, but they can’t go it alone. “Incorporating security and compliance consulting deliverables into the managed services solution can fully address a client’s increasing focus on these two areas,” Fakhoury said.
5. Finally, be prepared to guide clients through the security purchasing process. End users still get sticker shock when they see prices, said Don Douglas, CEO of Liquid Networx, but they need to implement more security precautions no matter what. Channel partners can maximize those investments by honing in on a customer’s requirements and delivering the most “bang for the buck,” said Douglas. Rebecca Rosen, founder of consultancy Sales Enabled, offered some pointers for achieving that goal. “The reality is that our customers’ budgets haven’t magically increased,” she said. “You have to learn how to justify the costs of your work with the revenues gained as a result of transformation and agility. And you will have to teach your buyers to sell to their internal constituents (think CFO/CEO) to buy into hiring you.”
Following the above recommendations should pay off. If you need more prodding or proof, Gartner Inc. said last August that about 10 percent of enterprises’ overall IT security capabilities would be delivered in the cloud by 2015. And by year’s end, almost 30 percent of infrastructure protection products will be purchased as part of a suite, the research firm said. Consider the number of enterprises located in North America alone and the conclusion is obvious: Channel partners who can offer an all-around yet detailed approach to security have access to a huge potential chunk of change.