Security resellers are being urged to supplement their on-premise revenue with cloud-based alternatives in order to retain large customers who might otherwise spend with competitors.
Gartner has dished out this advice to the channel following its prediction that by 2015, 10 per cent of all overall IT security enterprise products will be delivered through the cloud.
In the analyst's Demand for Cloud-Based Offerings Impacts Security Service Spending report, Gartner claims that IT security buyers across the globe plan to increase their consumption of cloud-based services in the next 12 months. It further predicts that the security services market is set to reach $4.2bn (£2.7bn) by 2016.
The firm's research director Eric Ahlm claimed the shift in buying behaviour could leave some suppliers that do not adapt likely to come under threat.
"Demand remains high from buyers looking to cloud-based security services to address a lack of staff or skills, reduce costs, or comply with security regulations quickly," he said.
"This shift in buying behaviour from the more traditional on-premise equipment towards cloud-based delivery models offers good opportunities for technology and service providers with cloud-delivery capabilities.
"But those without such capabilities need to act quickly to adapt to this competitive threat."
Gartner added that resellers should complement their products with cloud-based offerings which offer large customers reduced operational spend in order to retain their business in the long term, warning that those that do not could see implementation revenue slide.
Ahlm added: "The value that cloud services bring to security buyers is measurable in terms of capital and operational cost reduction.
"Security providers that currently offer only a hardware or software-based solution requiring implementation should build product road maps that allow customers to move to the cloud at their pace."
Ian Kilpatrick, chairman of security distributor Wick Hill said that while his firm has seen growth in cloud security product sales, he is unsure whether Gartner's prediction is realistic.
He said: "Historically, many reports [of this kind] have been over-optimistic, so from that perspective, I take most reports looking into the early stages of a technology with a pinch of salt. Having said that, there are a number of opportunities for the channel in cloud - and with security in the cloud - but I am somewhat doubtful it will reach the 10 per cent mark though.
"Gartner implied that if you don't get into cloud then you are on the bench, but I don't see this as being the case. It is important for the channel to weigh up which [technologies] they can deliver through the cloud which can sit alongside their existing offerings."
He added that it is important for VARs not to rush in to the cloud and potentially cannibalise their own sales.
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