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Successful security partners have depth, confidence and services

Research from Canalys backed by Trend Micro and Tech Data uncovers most successful traits of those operating at the top of their game in the security channel

Successful security partners have a wide knowledge of the market from a technology standpoint, offer managed services and have confidence selling to senior managers.

That list has been uncovered by Canalys, which has been working with Trend Micro and Tech Data to use its Cybersecurity 360 online skills assessment tool.

There has been consolidation in the security market at both partner and customer level, with users trying to reduce the number of tools they use to protect themselves. That has added to the pressure for those vendors trying to make sure the partners they work with are at the top of their game.

“Our goal was to understand the different strengths and weaknesses of partners engaged in the business of cyber security and to help them identify areas for improvement,” said Canalys vice-president Alex Smith. “Cyber security skills in the channel are in high demand and are hard to find.”

Those that were the most successful and displayed traits associated with market leaders (see box: Cyber security leader traits) were enjoying double-digit growth that was outpacing an already very buoyant market.

Although endpoint and network security were the most common technologies sold by the channel, those doing well were in a position to offer a wide range of technologies, including identity management and cloud protection, to make sure they could catch more revenue opportunities from customers.

“The fastest growing areas in cyber security include cloud security; identity and access management; security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) solutions; and endpoint and mobile security,” said David Ellis, vice-president of mobility and security at Tech Data, Europe. “Much of this need has been driven by the move to hybrid working and the need to secure networks to support this move.”

It was also clear from the list that the channel needs to be confident talking to senior managers at customers about security and risk and future strategies.

“We are increasingly seeing cyber security become a board-level issue, especially as partners develop their managed security services portfolios,” said Gary O’Connell, European managed service provider (MSP) director at Trend Micro. “It is important that our MSP partners are focused on selling to C-level executives where possible as, ultimately, it will be their responsibility if a breach occurs.”

Cyber security leader traits

The Canalys research found eight attributes that identified the most successful security partners in the channel:

  1. Offers a comprehensive suite of cyber security technologies.
  2. Is dedicated, or has a dedicated division focused on security.
  3. Primarily sells to senior leadership within client base.
  4. Possesses a deep understanding of customers’ IT environments.
  5. Can design and implement cyber security policies for clients.
  6. Provides a full suite of managed services.
  7. Operates a security operations centre (SOC).
  8. Is currently recruiting to support cyber security practice.

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