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Focus on MSSPs at InfoSec

The annual security industry gathering at Olympia involved plenty of vendors promoting their abilities to support managed service players

Many people wander round Olympia at InfoSec looking for a theme of the market, which baskets are the vendors piling their eggs into and where might there be channel opportunities?

There had been some expectations that this year would see AI and IoT dominate but the messages from the majority of stands was largely the same as last year. Some of that was down to timing and if the show had been in its old fashioned slot in April then GDPR would have swamped the place.

But from a channel perspective there was a theme that emerged on the managed services side with most of the vendors talking about the growth in MSSPs and the efforts they were making to support them.

Sean Price, senior vice president, worldwide sales at Watchguard, said that there had been conversations on the show floor with partners about MSSPs and the vendor was keen to make sure it could promote its support for those providers.

"We made a concious decision a couple of years ago that everything we built from that day forward was going to be done with a services provider bent," he added "not just cloud based but also with flexible management and portal entry where you could have multi-tenet as an MSSP and move things based on the needs of your customer."

"All of our partners are on that journey and they are on different stages but all of them aspire to get to providing managed services," he added.

Jonathan Whitley, area sales director, Northern Europe at WatchGuard Technologies, said that most of the conversations it had with partners at the show were about MSSPs and it made sense for those firms looking to provide customers with greater flexibility as well as protecting their own margins.

"If you look at if from a reseller perspective there's less and less ways to differentiate yourself but with a solid managed security service that is something customers really like," he said.

Price said that it was open to working with MSPs, "that wanted to add the S" and get into security and that was one way its channel was expanding.

Matt Bruun,  vice president at Forcepoint, said that two of its senior MSP leadership team had been over from the US this week talking to staff and partners outlining how the vendor was working with that part of the channel community.

"We have an existing MSP programme that has been based around firewalls but we are beginning to extend that into other areas," he said.

He added that smaller customers needed to work with MSPs to overcome in-house resource limitations and skills shortages.

James Munroe, head of channel sales UK at Trend Micro, echoed the experience of working with more MSSPs and had seen more partners embark on the journey to the cloud with their own businesses.

He said that it had seen an increase of interest from general MSPs that might have seen security as a after thought in the past but were now changing that attitude.

"Providing security is now at the forefront of people's minds and we are seeing new partners all the time with very specialist solutions that are focused on a mission to deliver best practice," he added.

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