(Pictured above: AT&T’s Sara Straley on the keynote stage at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, April 10.)
CHANNEL PARTNERS CONFERENCE & EXPO — The future no longer is on the horizon, but here today, and cybersecurity, IoT and 5G present massive opportunities for the channel.
That’s what Sara Straley, AVP of sales and marketing for AT&T Partner Exchange, told attendees during her keynote at Channel Partners Conference and Expo titled “3 Technology Trends Shaping the Channel.” Earlier this year, Straley succeeded Randall Porter as the new leader of the AT&T Partner Exchange program.
The cybersecurity landscape is changing on a daily basis and 88 percent of IT decision makers saw an increase in cybersecurity instances in the last year, she said. With threats on the rise, it’s “critically important” to have an effective cybersecurity solution in place, she said.
“Only half feel they can keep up with the rapidly evolving threat landscape,” Straley said. “That’s where you come up. You are uniquely positioned to help your customers make informed decisions about cybersecurity. Over 80 percent said cybersecurity will be critically important to their business over the next three years. It’s not if, but when and how you will respond.”
Dave Becker, AT&T’s director of product development, Partner Solutions, said IoT, government regulations and the increasing shortage of cybersecurity talent are areas in which businesses need assistance with cybersecurity.
“You can just go out and sell to your end users, but the real opportunity is around managed security solution providers or an MSSP program,” he said. “That’s where you’re truly a trusted adviser.”
Becoming an MSSP means acquiring the necessary expertise, and having a security operations center (SOC) and the tools to have a view of all of their customers’ networks.
Regarding IoT, experts predict there will be 80 billion connected devices globally by 2025, Straley said. Businesses are looking for assistance with making better use of IoT to help them run smarter. Areas of opportunity include cameras as a sensor and data management, she said.
“How much data will 80 billion devices spin off?” she said.
Businesses will need services to transmit, store and analyze all of that data, Straley said.
And when it comes to 5G, the technology will enable use cases “we have yet to imagine,” she said. It comprises more than speed and will prompt smarter connections, she said. Restaurants, retail and manufacturing are examples of industries that will be massively transformed through 5G, she said.
Kesha McDade, AT&T’s technical sales director, Alliance Channel, said the channel is a “such a vibrant, innovative space.”
“Cybersecurity and IoT can be complex, so early engagement will be crucial,” she said.