HP appears to want to shed some of its old hardware image for a fresher, sleeker enterprise security services look and feel.
The hardware firm wants to be a one-stop security resource for the partner and research community. And to give legs to its ambitions, it's empowering its channel for a security push.
But first it has to establish street credibility. At the RSA Security Conference 2013 in San Francisco this week, the company announced an HP Security Research (HPSR) organisation designed to disseminate security information through reports, threat briefings and updates to the HP security product portfolio.
The new HPSR research centre, under the auspices of the HP Enterprise Security Products business unit, brings together HP's existing research groups.
That includes threat research and analysis organisation DVLabs, as well as HP Fortify Software Security Research, and the Zero Day Initiative, a group focused on identifying software flaws leading to cyber attacks.
One of the primary goals for the HPSR centre is to generate research that has direct bearing on the HP security product portfolio. One example is the HP Reputation Security Monitor 1.5, which aims to protect clients against advanced threats via data feeds that identify peer-to-peer network use, spear phishing and spam floods.
For the mid-market, HP also launched HP ArcSight Express 4.0, which combines security information and event management (SIEM), log management and user activity monitoring together in one appliance.
The sustained investment aims to not just broaden, but accelerate HP's reach in security, an effort that includes a downmarket expansion. And it's not lost on HP that it's going to need to lean heavily on its channel to do so. To empower its channel ranks, HP said it's recruiting partners with a security focus.
"We're taking security intelligence to the masses," Varun Kohli, HP director of product marketing, enterprise security products, told Channelnomics. "How do we get our products in their hands? It's difficult for companies to do it on their own."
HP's sustained investments in security bode well for the channel. Its reinvigorated commitment to security suggests that partners can breathe a little easier when making investments and building security practices.
Tthat will go far to build and strengthen loyalties and channel relationships required for a long-term comprehensive security strategy.
For partners, HP's recent endeavours create strong value-add services around SIEM, log management, threat analysis, monitoring and other potentially high-margin opportunities, enabling them to build product portfolios that will let them carve out and maintain specialised security niches.
Consolidation and initial product integrations mean more alignment between previously siloed channels, which will mean more cross-sell opportunities.
HP has some catching up to do. IBM and Dell recognised security's value and long-term staying power early on and have long outpaced HP in their security strategy.
Dell - now mid-stream in its software and services transformation - has consistently unleashed integrated products that fill in holes in its overarching, end-to-end security stack.
However, HP has some weight on its side - its customer base, Kohli said.
"It's an asset that HP hopes will help it accelerate credibility and gain traction in security markets by broadening its reach and scope, which includes a downmarket expansion.
ArcSight Express 4.0, for example, makes SIEM technologies and related services accessible to a broader swath of partners, and thus a more expansive lower market customer base, touting rapid and streamlined deployment and easy integrations.
"And with strategic mid-market and SMB relationships, the channel will be integral in its implementation and maintenance. SIEM is a deeper problem - customers need a lot of hand holding," Kohli said.
"But the channel can get customers started within minutes."
The renewed efforts around security aim at stated goals to reshape offerings to align with cloud, virtualisation software, and services trends.
HP has given its channel a lot of reasons to start dusting off security rolodexes, but will have to work hard to establish value, especially when close rivals are already well into a similar transformation and starting to see benefits.
HP's success will be determined by its commitment to a long-term strategy that focuses on value-add product integrations and accelerated ways to market.
As part of our special editorial partnership, CRN is republishing this recent article from Channelnomics
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