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The idea that there is an opportunity for the channel in supporting operational technology (OT) is not a fresh one, and over the past couple of years there have been calls for more activity from several vendors that have solutions to champion.
Some of those efforts have come from the likes of Schneider, which has urged a joined-up approach to power protection, and from Claroty, which is focused on the security side.
The latter is looking for channel growth, but in the immediate term, Keith Carter, vice-president of worldwide channels and alliances at Claroty, has his hands full integrating channel partners from its acquisition of OT healthcare specialist Medigate.
The deal, struck in January, extended the reach of the firm into the healthcare vertical and gave Medigate’s channel the chance to add more security into their offerings.
“My challenge as head of channels is to look to see how we can very quickly and rapidly integrate Medigate channel partners into the Claroty Focus programme. Then we can look up which partners potentially could really migrate their business across industrial into healthcare and healthcare into industrial,” he said.
“We are building an ecosystem of partners that can really take that whole XioT [extended internet of things] connected physical devices across all verticals,” he added. “That’s the real first bridge between healthcare and OT, through the partner programme. The channel partners want to learn about healthcare.”
The vendor will not push partners that want to remain focused on the industrial side, but any that are looking to add healthcare as a string to their bow will be supported, although both communities are coming closer naturally.
“What we saw quite early on was the conversions of OT and IT. That brought in a community of IT partners who are coming up the security angle and you’ve got the OT resellers coming in at the OT side and they’re converging. The customers are wanting one provider to manage their IT and their OT,” he said.
Carter is also working on forthcoming partner programme enhancements that will be based around the three pillars of industrial, healthcare and commercial security.
More details on that will emerge in due course, but the vendor is already reaching out to the channel and encouraging them to start thinking about OT because there is strong momentum in the market.
“Key drivers are compliance and governance. The problem is not just about security – it’s about asset discovery, it’s about utilisation, it’s about business process and it’s about productivity,” he said.
Carter added that there was also an opportunity for the channel to add security into OT processes that might not have been designed primarily to protect data but to facilitate better operational efficiencies.