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Want to know the best way to start out in Cyber Security?

Oct 4, 2019 7:39:51 AM David Ellis Cyber Security, Business, Channel Partners, Selling

The world is evolving and so don’t be left behind!

Digitalization is making organisations more and more data driven. Data used in the right way can set an organisation head and shoulders above its competitors.  This translates into greater value for the business and means the data itself has monetary value. The more valuable data organisations collect, the more they become targets for cyber criminals. The term ‘data’ is a very broad one, but we shouldn’t forget we are often using it to refer to personal data. This could be your personal data, your child’s, your parents. Sadly, it is often those who are most vulnerable in society that are at the greatest risk of exploitation. We have a moral duty therefore to protect sensitive data.  Governments and regulatory bodies around the world have recognised this need, and as such have introduced laws and regulations that govern how data should be managed. Cyber security is no longer a nice thing to have, but a must-have essential. Organisations are turning to their trusted IT providers in the channel for help. Given that cyber security embraces every part of an IT estate, this represents a huge business opportunity for the channel and a profitable path to growth.

The journey starts by recognising that cyber security comes with a number of unique challenges

The nature of cyber security makes it a difficult thing for organisations and the channel to execute effectively. In part this is down to how quickly new vulnerabilities are exposed and plugged. There is a race between the cyber criminals to find new ways in, and the cyber vendors to find new ways to keep the cyber criminals out. Unless you are laser focused on staying up-to-date on cyber security, many of the channel’s IT providers find it difficult to offer their customers cyber security with any real confidence and reassurance. Cyber security is one of those technologies that needs to be backed up by expert cyber security specialists, tools and technology. However, given the skills shortage in the industry, especially around cyber security, recruiting the best cyber security experts is difficult, not to mention an expensive overhead for channel IT providers not fully dedicated to cyber security.

The fragmented cyber security market doesn’t help things

The other challenge around cyber security is the fragmented nature of the market. Historically as new vulnerabilities have been detected, organisations have reached out for the latest solution for its features and protection. Consequently, many organisations have found they have upwards of 40 plus IT vendors providing some sort of security protection to their IT estate. Having more technology vendors in an IT estate comes with the burden of higher management overhead costs, not to mention greater complexity. Part of being able to deliver a professional cyber security solution is being able to consolidate the number of IT vendors and simplify the ongoing management along with lowering costs, whilst ensuring there are no gaps in protection. This comes back to having expert knowledge and understanding of the cyber security market and vulnerabilities. For the channel, the challenges around cyber security are also opportunities. With the right help and support from distribution the channel can start to help their customers improve their cyber security posture.

Even the cyber security experts are more successful with help and support

Tech Data recognises the challenges many of its customers are facing. Even those with cyber security expertise, benefit from a little help here and there. Sometimes it is because they have a temporary skills shortage. Other times it makes sense to outsource certain cyber security projects to free up internal resources to focus on more strategic projects.  For others, outsourcing gives them the flexibility to take on new customers and projects, without needing to keep expensive resources on the bench in reserve.

Listening to customer needs, Tech Data has created a suite of cyber security services that can be resold without needing to be a cyber security expert

Given the need to help customers with and without cyber security expertise, Tech Data developed a new range of cyber security services called the RECON security suite. These are mainly subscription-based services the channel can resell to their customers and then Tech Data will execute the delivery. For channel IT providers without cyber security expertise, this is a simple and effective way to help their customers improve their cyber security posture. For those with cyber security skills, the RECON Security Suite can be augmented with their existing offering, giving them enhanced operational capability and flexibility.

The RECON Security Suite is structured into the following targeted categories:

  • RECON MSP: Managed security services focused on the day-to-day management of security solutions, including Managed Next-Generation Firewall; Managed Identity; Managed Endpoint; 24x7 Support and Monitoring Services; Reporting Services
  • RECON ProServ: Security-focused consulting services
  • RECON Risk: Consultation services which assess and offer solutions for an organization’s key security risks
  • RECON SOC: Security Operations Centre services including incident response and real-time alerting
  • RECON Restore: A portfolio of backup and recovery solutions that can restore a system from catastrophic ransomware or malware attacks.

The RECON Security Suite will evolve to reflect the ever-changing threat landscape and emerging technology categories such as IoT. The RECON offering is based around the U.S. National Institute of Standards in Technology (NIST) cyber security framework, a recognized standard that enables organisations to better protect themselves against cyber security threats.

RECON lowers the barriers to entry and provides a stepping stone to channel enablement

Setting up cyber security services is surprisingly cost prohibitive for many of the mid-market or SMB resellers. Faced with high set up costs and no guarantee of repeatable revenue, the financial risk can be too great. However, with the RECON Security Suite, channel IT providers don’t need to incur the time and expense involved in developing cyber security services. In particular they don’t need to:

  • Invest in the latest cyber security tools
  • Staff a support centre 24x7 with cyber security engineers
  • Gain and maintain relevant vendor cyber security technical certifications
  • Develop supporting collateral
  • Create legal and contractual documents
  • Develop close support relationships with all the main cyber security vendors.

With Tech Data managing the service creation and delivery, the RECON Services Suite allows the channel to go to market very quickly and with a low cost of entry.

The next step is around building up additional cyber security expertise

Most of the channel IT providers recognise the need to evolve their business over time.  Therefore, once a channel IT provider is comfortable with reselling Tech Data’s cyber security services, Tech Data can give them access to an enablement path to become a cyber security expert in their own right. To start with, Tech Data delivers sales and certified technical training. Tech Data is also rolling out a Partner Transformation Practice Builder Programme that navigates and supports customers to move from being traditional product resellers to cyber security experts able to deliver a range of hardware, software and services. This encompasses both business and technological transformation. The programme is a very consultative process and takes a structured approach, helping the channel develop a unique value proposition that fits with where they want to take their business. Next it looks at what changes are needed to the existing business operating model. It helps plan go-to-market strategies, providing access to key materials and resources. Finally, it helps identify and plan out the changes needed around systems and operations. In summary, Practice Builder is an incredibly powerful transformational programme that can completely redefine an organisation’s future. Ultimately, Tech Data is able to help channel IT providers go from having no cyber security experience, to reselling cyber security offerings; and then on to eventually building up their own set of cyber security expertise and a strong portfolio of cyber security solutions and services.

A better future

SMBs are too frequently overlooked when it comes to cyber security, and yet ironically, they are often the most in need of protection. By making the world’s best and latest cyber security more accessible to SMBs and their trusted IT providers, Tech Data hopes to make it easier for organisations to better protect their data. This translates into better protection for you, I and the citizens of the world. For the channel, it provides an opportunity for profitable growth and customer success.

David Ellis

Written by David Ellis

Vice President, Security and Mobility Solutions – Europe at Tech Data


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