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Building a profitable security portfolio

Security

Security is a growth opportunity for the channel. Buyers’ cyber-security budgets for security are growing and they are prepared to pay premiums of up to 25% for the right protection. At last year’s Convergence Summit South, Daisy’s Matthew Riley predicted that most of the group’s future growth would come from security.

Underpinning Riley’s statement is the fact that cyber-crime is here to stay. Today’s scaremongering will subside as we adjust to the fact that protection against cyber-attacks is simply a modern requirement for doing business.

Lucy Green will be hosting a panel debate at the Convergence Summit South on the 28th of September about the security market. Register to attend here.

Since the business development opportunity for the channel is so strong, this article looks into buyers’ needs and shares experts’ tips about building a profitable portfolio.

Buyers want security

Demand for secure IT, Voice and Data services from UK businesses is growing. This year, Larato spoke to over 300 small and medium Enterprises about their cyber security needs as well as their current and future investment plans. Over half of the firms we interviewed are buying from channel partners today. So this intelligence is about your customers; they are already investing in cyber-security and ready to invest more.

The good news is that SME buyers’ needs are highly consistent and can be met readily with the right security applications. There are three main reasons for growth in demand;

1.Enterprises of all sizes are being attacked and their awareness of the risks they face is accelerating. Detective Sergeant Christopher Greatorex from the South East’s Regional Cyber Crime Unit will be sharing his experiences at the Summit South’s Security Seminar.
2.SMEs are using more cloud services and remain concerned about security.
3.Companies need to comply with changing and more complex regulation.

Firewalls and anti-virus are no longer enough

A critical point for channel players to take account of is that traditional firewalls and anti-virus protection are no longer enough to solve buyers’ security problems. Criminals have become adept at circumventing these barriers which means you need to provide your customers with solutions to stump the hackers. I have asked CyberRescue’s CEO Kevin Duffey to share his insights into how channel players should choose solutions to include in their portfolios and how to keep selling security simple.

Buyers want assurance from standards

According to the Cloud Industry Forum, buyers need the assurances that certification for relevant standards and codes of practice provide.

Larger Providers should be doing more for the channel

According to PWC’s 2016 report on the state of information security, Telco’s and large Managed Service Providers are not investing enough in cyber-security. Much of the channel relies on these companies for products and services to resell to customers. A consequence of this under-investment is that the services buyers want to buy are not available for resale. Larato is observing growing frustration among VARs towards their suppliers because of this issue.

Top concerns for buyers

Larato interviewed over 300 companies about their security concerns. Protecting data, email and telephony came up at the top of their lists. Here’s why.

Data

IT leaders and security experts are clear about the risk that employees pose to data security. Cyber criminals are becoming highly effective at obtaining sensitive information from employees and the most careful employees are being tricked. Even the smallest businesses have lost tens of thousands of pounds from what criminals call ‘social engineering’ – in other words conning people. Restricting individual workers’ access rights is a good way of protecting the data and the person. Tackling this issue is buyers’ top priority.

Email

Businesses are being caught out by malware, ransomware and other nasties coming in via email attachments. Solving this problem is second on buyer’s priority lists and they are ready to pay more for this type of secure email. Not providing it is leaving money on the table. Of the 300 SMEs we interviewed, over half had experienced ransom demands originating from email attachments.

Voice

Business buyers are becoming more aware of – and more worried about – voice fraud and phone hacking. The FCS Fraud Mitigation Mark of Excellence offers protection by recommending ways to prevent known fraudulent numbers from being used and by enabling users to limit money spent on different call types.

Remember reporting

Applications that really solve these problems run in the background. Users are unaware of their presence. This is a critical benefit for resellers’ customers – the right security solution does not compromise daily business in any way. So reporting on attacks prevented is an essential way of informing your customers about the value you are delivering to their business every day. Your value-add opportunity extends much further than this. Channel-ready applications are able to provide insights into information security, compliance and operational performance that can seriously strengthen your customers’ businesses. Quality reporting is set to be a major revenue generator. I will be asking guest panellist Graeme Stewart from LogPoint to explain how he sees the future of reporting.

Next steps

A myriad of revenue generating opportunities is out there for the channel to embrace. I suggest that there are two steps to success;
1. IT and voice resellers explore the range of channel-ready security and reporting solutions that will grow your revenues and profits.
2. Telco’s and larger service providers invest in making cyber-security services that buyers want to buy available to their resellers.

Find out more by coming to the “Building a profitable security portfolio” seminar at the Convergence Summit South on September 28th at 12:45. Register here to attend.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine