As the release of the Panama Papers provides yet more evidence of the importance of robust data protection, we look at what four leading distributors are doing to help resellers capitalise on growing demand for IT security solutions.
A report published by The Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance estimates that cybercrime costs the UK £27bn per year. It points out that while cybercrime has a considerable impact on citizens and the Government, the biggest loser is business, with the cost of IP theft, espionage and other cyber risks amounting to as much as £21 billion in the UK alone.
The release of the Panama Papers is the latest in a long list of security breaches and follows other high profile hacks, including the leaking of 37 million customer records at dating site Ashley Madison and the theft of the personal details of 157,000 TalkTalk customers, which is reported to have cost the telecoms company an estimated £60 million.
And it’s not only websites that are vulnerable. Moonpig’s mobile app reportedly had a flaw that could have enabled an individual to access any account holder’s details.
Security threats are increasing and the harsh reality is that anyone who is connected online is at risk. In its 2016 Threats Predictions Report, McAfee Labs warns that wearables, gadgets, sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT) are creating new risks, as every product that connects to the internet is exposed to increasingly complex attacks.
The many ways in which data can be put at risk are multiplying in today’s mobile and digital world. The how, when and where of creating, retrieving, storing and sharing information (whether it’s in the cloud, on-premise or mobile) has changed dramatically, and networks (public or private, wired or wireless) need to be shored up to prevent new security gaps.
On a more positive note, McAfee says that awareness of the importance of good cyber-security is growing in companies of all sizes and that new security tools are coming to market. Both developments are potentially good news for resellers and clear reasons to start selling cyber-security solutions or expand an existing offering.
Resellers that choose to go down this route will find plenty of support and encouragement from distributors that themselves have identified security as a key growth area.
Northamber: Educating the channel
On April 8, Northamber hosted a security solutions event for resellers at its Weybridge Training Centre. The day was designed to explore the modern IT cybersecurity landscape and to promote the company’s complete offer.
Security Product Manager Max Day said: “We’re working hard to increase awareness of the solutions we have with a view to educating our partners and to support them in adding security solutions to their customer offer.
“We have selected three best-of-breed vendors to partner with and, with these, we have a complete solution covering firewall, web filtering and endpoint protection. All three vendors utilise the very best technology and all products work individually, as well as together. But what’s key is that this simplified, but comprehensive, model slashes the number of SKUs and makes it easy for the dealer to quote their customers.”
At the event, Northamber’s three vendor partners, iboss, WatchGuard and Webroot, each explained how their products and technology can mitigate against modern security threats and provide a complete IT security solution. Technical workshops run by experts enabled resellers to get hands on and to see first-hand how the products work and the issues they fix.
For IT resellers, VARs and SIs, Northamber’s offer provides a one-stop suite of security solutions covering every potentiality.
Day says that the technology that sits behind the products is best in class. For example, over the last three years, iboss has grown by more than 1,800% and in 2014 was named one of the fastest growing technology companies by Deloitte. Co-founders Paul and Peter Martini were also recognised with the 2014 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
He said: “We are really confident that our vendor partners both match and improve on other available solutions. For example, Webroot has around a 60% share of the US market, and the cost in many cases is around one-third when compared with alternatives, which for resellers is a compelling message to convey to customers.”
Northamber proactively supports channel partners in selling security solutions. It does this through partner programmes, training courses and fully trained, accredited technicians who can deliver and install on behalf of a reseller.
One measure that Day says has gone down very well with resellers – and their customers – is the option of free 30-day end-user trials of iboss and Webroot.
“With iboss, 100% of the customers who trialled it have gone on to purchase it and 96% of people who have tested Webroot have bought the solution or added on additional products – proof that it really does work,” he said.
Northamber can also help resellers join an OEM’s partner programme. “There’s a different set of criteria for each vendor, each of which sells exclusively through the channel, and the rewards and incentives can be substantial,” he said. “Becoming a vendor channel partner affords a number of benefits, one of the main ones being that they will pass on end-user leads direct to resellers.”
The WatchGuardONE Channel Partner Program, for example, rewards Channel Partners through discounts, rebates, cooperative advertising funding, on-demand and in-person training, and an array of marketing opportunities that they can use to grow their WatchGuard business and take advantage of industry-leading margins.
“We are definitely seeing a high interest in this area and the demand is driven by end-users,” Day said. “High profile attacks and data breaches have highlighted the point that everyone is at risk. It’s not just the big companies that are exposed. If you’re connected to the web or online, you have to take action to protect yourself and that’s as pertinent for a oneman band as it is for a multinational.”
CMS Distribution: SME focus
CMS Distribution entered the booming security market in 2015, forming partnerships with AlienVault, Barracuda Networks, iSheriff and The Bunker and creating a team of security specialists able to use their commercial and technical knowledge, along with a deep understanding of the competitive landscape, to support long-term partners.
The company has just enhanced its security portfolio by signing up as UK distributor for AVG Technologies’ AVG Business security solutions. Under the terms of the agreement, CMS Distribution will supply the full line of cloud security and remote monitoring and management (RMM) solutions for SMEs, directly to its 3,000-strong reseller base, including the top VARs in the UK.
Fred Gerritse, AVG Technologies General Manager, said: “AVG Technologies has aggressive goals this year to drive even greater value for our channel partners and their end customers. High on our list is a smart distribution model to give our partners the flexibility to buy our solutions direct from a distributor and help maximise their growth. We chose CMS Distribution as the strong partner to help us put this vision into motion in the UK and Europe.”
He added: “CMS Distribution not only shares our commitment to helping businesses prioritise security, but brings the go-to-market capabilities to sell our full stack of AVG Business cloud security and managed services solutions. We are looking forward to working together to deliver impressive results.”
Speaking on half of CMS Distribution, Group Director of Software Solutions Justin Griffiths said: “Last year, we started building a comprehensive security portfolio. As the market moves towards mobility and cloud technologies and there is an ever growing importance for data security, a partnership with a leading cloud security brand such as AVG made total sense for us.”
The AVG Business product portfolio includes:
AVG AntiVirus Business Edition and AVG Internet Security Business Edition, which delivers advanced endpoint security protection against emerging and persistent threats targeting vulnerable data on PCs, mobile devices and servers. The software features cloud-based, real-time Outbreak Detection and proactive Artificial Intelligence Detection to identify the newest malware variants and outbreaks.
AVG CloudCare, which enables channel partners to remotely support their clients and deploy a robust portfolio of cloud security solutions through a single, cloud-based administration platform. It provides a simple way to implement and manage services for SME customers, such as antivirus, content filtering, online back-up, email security services and secure sign on, using centralised and highly customisable policies; and
AVG Managed Workplace, which provides a comprehensive RMM platform with integrated premium remote control that enables fast, simplified deployment and control and security of clients’ IT infrastructure. The feature set also includes integrated back-up and disaster recovery, network monitoring and alerting, reporting, patch management, asset management, mobile device management, Mac OS X Device Manager, AntiVirus enhancements and more.
Computacenter: 30 years’ experience
The independent provider of IT infrastructure services and solutions Computacenter says that with a 30-year heritage in datacentre, network and workplace IT, it has the experience and expertise to protect these environments from security threats and data breaches.
It holds accreditations from major security vendors, including Checkpoint, Cisco, F5, Juniper, McAfee, RSA, Symantec, Fortinet and VMware; constantly expands its security offerings with new solutions; and works with customers to address emerging security threats before they impact the business.
Effective from January, Computacenter has been awarded a place on seven lots of the NPS IT Products and Services (ITPS) framework agreement for Wales, which aims to help Welsh public sector organisations with ICT procurement. The framework, which includes network firewall and associated products and services, runs for an initial period of two years with the option of a two-year extension.
The NPS ITPS Framework – the primary route to market for ICT products and services for 22 Councils, 11 Welsh Government and Sponsored Bodies, 10 Health Boards, 14 Further Education Colleges, nine Universities, four Police Forces and three Fire and Rescue Services – is designed to help the Welsh public sector reduce ICT costs and complexity and enable local authorities to meet the Welsh Government’s call for a more shared approach to ICT.
Tech Data: Electronic download and activation
Tech Data is another distributor with a wide range of security products covering diverse needs, from simple anti-virus solutions for home and small business use, from the likes of F-Secure, Kaspersky Lab and Norton, to more sophisticated business-oriented solutions provided by brands such as McAfee and Symantec.
As one of the top UK distributors for these vendors, Tech Data makes products available for electronic download and activation through its TD Activate-here portal. This useful resource gives resellers an easy way to provide security and other software solutions to customers for immediate use. Instead of a box, they simply sell an activation code, which the customer can use to download and verify their purchase. Alternatively, the reseller can carry out that task for them, providing a route for the channel to add value to small business customers or home users.
Tech Data also provides advanced firewall and unified protection solutions and appliances from leading vendors such as Cisco, Dell SonicWall, HP Enterprise, NETGEAR and ZyXEL. It holds most of these products in stock, ready for next-day shipment to any location in the UK.
Tech Data says it is able to support resellers across the full spectrum of needs, from standalone security product sales right through to designing and selling information security solutions, both within the data centre and out to mobile devices.
More advanced solutions from Cisco and HPE are managed by the company’s Azlan business unit, which is focused on enterprise solutions and is presently building a distinct security practice to meet the growing demand for consultancy and advice in this area.
“Security is becoming more integral to every customer’s IT infrastructure,” said Andy Dow, Group Marketing Director at Tech Data. “Security is a concern for all users and, with the increasingly complex nature of threats and wider use of cloud services, it’s becoming much more integral to the whole IT environment, so it’s a key area of focus for us this year.”
He added: “It’s an area that’s developing all the time, so having the right structure and process in place is important. Security needs to be an integral part of the value proposition, from us and for the reseller. We’re now making security a key component of our whole technology and solutions practice and you’ll see a lot of activity in this area from Azlan this year. We’ll be working closely with partners on developing their capabilities and business.”