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How to Build an Effective Cybersecurity Practice

Cybersecurity Employee

As cybercrime is a looming threat for most customers today, is the channel prepared to help them?

The key to taking advantage of this opportunity is building and maintaining an effective cybersecurity practice. But where do you start?

During his presentation, titled “Stairway to Security Revenue – A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Security Practice,” at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, March 9-12, Alex Ryals, Tech Data‘s vice president of security solutions, will provide a vendor-neutral, step-by-step plan to build a cybersecurity practice.

Tech Data's Alex Ryals

Tech Data’s Alex Ryals

He will address selecting the right areas of security on which to focus, picking the right providers to partner with and building a strategy around professional and managed security services. The opportunity is tremendous for partners who take thoughtful and intentional action to build a plan.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Ryals gives a sneak peek of the information he plans to share with attendees.

Channel Partners: Have the components of a successful security practice evolved along with changes in technology and cyberattack strategies? If so, how?

Alex Ryals: The components of a successful security practice have certainly evolved over time as the complexity of the attacks has increased. In the past, it may have been good enough to have a strong perimeter firewall and a good antivirus solution on your laptop, but the edge of the network is no longer the router/gateway in your data center. It is IoT devices all around us, mobile phones, laptops, etc. A security practice today must include more than just hardware and software, but also services to assist customers with penetration testing, vulnerability assessments and even incident response. This isn’t to say that all partners have to deliver this themselves, but they do need to have a partnership with someone who can deliver these types of solutions.

Join Ryals and 100+ industry-leading speakers, more than 6,400 partners and 300+ key vendors, distributors and master agents at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, March 9-12. Register now!

CP: How do you best begin the process of building a security practice?

AR: The first step in building a security practice is to hire a solid security leader who will have the expertise and bandwidth to complete the other steps in the process, which generally include selecting the areas of security to invest in [endpoint, cloud, IoT, identity and access management (IAM), etc.], the vendors to partner with, the services to provide (professional and managed), the marketing strategy to tell your customers about your offerings and the financial tracking to identify success. A solid security practice is generally a combination of selling services to assist customers in identifying weaknesses in their cyber posture and managed services to manage/monitor that infrastructure, as well as technology to feed those managed services.

CP: What are some of the common mistakes made when building a security practice?

AR: I have noticed many partners invest heavily in building a security practice, but not compensating their sales team to sell it. The best practice is to identify and invest in …

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