Canalys: Security channel must meet changing demands

There is growth out there in the market, but the channel will need to shift the product mix to ensure it picks it up, says Canalys

There are not many things that are certain right now, but one thing seems to be that security spending will remain an essential expenditure for customers trying to protect their data.

The pandemic has seen a significant rise in the number of threats and scams trying to exploit those working from home and individuals worried about Covid-19. Security specialists in the channel have already been busy in the past few months and, although the product mix might change, the call to help solve user problems will remain a priority.

In Canalys’s expectations for growth, the best-case scenario for worldwide security spending on cyber security will come in a 5.6% this year. Even in a bleaker scenario, where the global economy takes a major hit, the level will still be 2.5% in 2020.

But there is a clear message coming from the analyst house to advise resellers to keep a clear focus on changing customer needs and to shift the products and services mix to meet evolving needs.

Endpoint protection and network security have enjoyed decent growth so far in the pandemic, but as customers solve those problems the industry will look to other areas, such as web and email security and analytics and vulnerability assessments to keep the spending coming in the second half.

“The shift to subscriptions will shield cyber security from immediate IT spending cuts, but additional expenditure will be affected for the rest of the year as organisations begin the next stage in their response to the pandemic,” said Matthew Ball, chief analyst at Canalys.

The analyst house is forecasting that the proportion of workers working from home regularly will grow from 12% pre-Covid-19 to 28% in the post-pandemic era across Western Europe.

However, Ball added that the channel would have to work harder for its money as the months progressed and that those resting on their laurels could face challenges.

“The switch from free trials to paid-for subscriptions will be a factor in maintaining cyber security growth. But the mix of cost containment measures, workforce reduction and cashflow issues will result in greater scrutiny of existing projects and smaller deals. Delays and cancellations of new initiatives will increase, except those that enable cost reductions and secure high-priority digital transformation initiatives,” he said.

Most security players have noticed the issue of data security increase as the lockdown forced people to work remotely, and they have seen many customers grasping the nettle and resolving some of their network access issues.

“Security has always been on the top of the priority list, and Covid has accelerated that,” said James Munroe, UK channel director at Trend Micro.

He said that Trend Micro had encouraged its partners to focus on ‘customer health’ to ensure that they were helping users protect their data during the current situation.

“At the start of the crisis, we wanted to make sure that customers were secure and their health was of paramount importance, protecting those assets and making sure they were using all of the tools,” he said, adding that the channel had guided many users through the options available to help keep them protected.

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