IDC Margaret Adam
Margaret Adam (Associate Vice President)

Customer demand for security remains high and remains a priority for most organizations. The growth of security products and markets has implications for the full ICT stack.  In our opinion, security also represents a prime opportunity for the channel, due to this intrinsic value to customers.

Additionally, the complexity of the security landscape creates an abundance of services opportunities.   Customers seek trusted partners who can identify and implement the security products required to protect themselves against the evolving threat landscape.   With so many point-based solutions and vendors available, customers want help unifying this into a full solution.

Channel partners are looking to transform from generalists to specialists, and are looking to differentiate their services through deeper specialization.  Building a security practice can help them achieve this.  Security vendors also recognize the value that good partners can unlock, such as unifying point solutions, and providing the required consulting, integration, and managed services.

However, many channel partners struggle to build a credible security practice. The security eco-system is fragmented and complex. Skills are in short supply, and often prohibitively expensive.

Security is a ‘horizontal’ technology, underpinning ICT environments end-to-end. This creates lots of room for implementation and integration engagements by partners. But partners also have a more strategic opportunity to help enterprises transform their approach to security in several areas whether through:

  • Unified security;
  • Repositioning security as an enabler for change (including digital transformation);
  • Adopting proactive approaches towards security (i.e., identify and respond to unknown threats before they can cause a breach) to stand alongside more traditional reactive ones (i.e., block known threats as they address the enterprise);
  • Building IT solutions that are secure by design and default, rather than being added as an additional “layer” added as an afterthought (i.e., eliminating problems such as usability friction and gaps in coverage).

Market demand in areas such as unified security and repositioning security as an enabler (rather than a blocker) are key business themes that create immediate channel opportunities. Significantly, these are themes with board-level exposure, giving partners the chance to cultivate longer-term and more strategic prospects. Furthermore, an increasing reliance on specialized security skills, along with growing regulatory pressures, provides opportunities for solution providers to differentiate their services.

Vendors need to pull together an ecosystem of partners. By creating communities, alliances, and partnerships, vendors not only increase their channel base but also create opportunities for different specialist channel partners to collaborate. The 3rd platform enables a host of opportunities through digital transformation, modernization, evolution, and expansion. However, it also represents an exposure to risk, presenting opportunities for evolving threat landscape to target enterprises. Customers look to their partners to support their digital transformation in a secure way while also helping them mitigate risk.

Current and future business imperatives, as well as market evolution, provide a strategic opportunity to transform the traditional, reactive approach to security. Partners need to position themselves as strategic partners for enterprises as they seek to harness security as an enabler for change in an intuitive, usable, and intrinsically secure fashion. If you are interested in reading more about this topic, our report, The Security Opportunity Through the Channel: Key Trends, Opportunities, and Challenges , discusses the further impact of security specialization on the channel, and vendors.

If you want more information about Channels and Alliances and its implications on Security, please contact Margaret Adam.

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