VARs Can Profit from the Security Challenge
Dave Allison, vice president of channel sales at Kaspersky Lab Americas, explains how channel partners can capitalize on the growing need for security by evolving customers' security processes and recommending solutions specifically tailored to their needs.
Malware, short for malicious software, refers to any software program deliberately created to perform an unauthorized and often harmful action. The days of simple virus attacks are gone, replaced by a malware ecosystem so organized it rivals that of any legitimate corporation out there today.
In order for VARs selling security products to offer clients maximum value, and ultimately maximize profits, it is essential to fully understand this new malware ecosystem and the solutions available in the marketplace. As malware and cyber threats have evolved, so has software to address such threats.
The speed and frequency of malicious programs are rising dramatically, with thousands of new variants being detected every day. New malware has increased technical sophistication, and we are seeing a shift in attack vectors, with malicious users starting to direct their attention to less well-protected fields, such as Web 2.0 technologies and mobile devices. We continue to see use of traditional techniques with added sophistication that enhances the level of threat. Examples include infecting boot sectors on victim machines and spreading malicious programs via storage media. However, sophisticated anti-spyware and antivirus solutions capable of detecting the most complex new viruses are also now available.
To qualify a customers security needs, it is essential for channel partners to understand the customers security posture by asking the following questions:
How deep are the security policies and processes?
What industry or governmental regulations need to be taken into account?
A good starting point is to do a simple analysis of the depth and sophistication of the organizations password policy and its level of understanding regarding security. This is typically a good barometer for how serious security is within their organization.
As a trusted partner, resellers can help the customer revise and/or evolve security policies and processes to meet specific industry regulations or governmental legislation and help recommend the best solution based on those policies and processes.
For the many small and medium size businesses, purchasing is a complex decision in which they must balance how to implement security solutions with the need to optimize performance and ensure the best protection for company assets. To gain customer trust, VARs can leverage the following tips that focus on up-leveling the impact of security choices on customers business success:
Focus on Business Risks, Not Just Security. Change the conversation from security alone to the role the right solution can play in mitigating business risks. Thinking of the business risks of your customers helps you to prioritize their security spend.
Provide Customers with Options. Develop an integrated portfolio of products and services and help customers leverage and integrate their existing technologies with new security features and services.
Build Your Consulting Services. As trusted partners, VARs are a source for solutions that include both product and service. To address the complex security environment customers face, include additional added-value options such as best of breed business risk analysis and deployment and integration services.
Be a Thought Leader. Demonstrate and provide a thoughtful approach to customers business security needs and be a creative partner for their security management strategy. Provide them with ideas and options that not only address their direct security needs, but focus on how your services can provide a significant contribution to totality of their business.
VAR profitability in the security market goes beyond selling security. By understanding the totality of the risks in a customers data network and how these risks affect their business, VARs can widen their revenue stream to future sales, services and technology support opportunities beyond security. VARs who provide customers with options that embody a full-featured business security solution that protects the information and infrastructure of a company will earn customers and grow revenue. VARs that take the extra step to understand customer needs will find greater success, and ultimately, profit.
Companies talk a lot about being committed to the channel. Kaspersky Lab recently established a Green Team Channel Program that reflects its 100% commitment to the channel. The program includes: Kasperskys unwavering pledge to take no direct deals; protection of partner margins; assurances to minimize channel saturation; growth rebate programs; guaranteed leads for top performing partners; and a new dealer registration program.
(Dave Allison is vice president of channel sales at Kaspersky Lab Americas.)
Channel Insight Solutions