Security is the biggest driver for profitability of Cisco partners, according to its senior vice president for the channel Wendy Bahr.
Speaking at 2016 Cisco Partner Summit in San Diego, Bahr cited an annual internal audit of Cisco's partners and said the report found that security is the most profitable area of Cisco's portfolio.
"This year's profitability study was quite interesting," she said. "The number one driver for our most profitable partners was in fact security. It's a profit maximiser and that's because of the incredible high-margin services that security drives.
"We know that vendors and customers want fewer vendors; they are overwhelmed by the number of security vendors they have to deal with but want companies that have greater capabilities. What we bring to the table is not just best-of-breed but that threat-centric integrated architecture that can protect the network end-to-end. The survey said this is what's driving higher profitability."
Cisco's recent focus on the security market is reflected in a number of its recent acquisitions, including a deal for UK security firm Portcullis in October and US security player Neohapsis in November 2014.
John Growdon, Cisco's senior director of security partner strategy, said yesterday that Cisco's security partners can "differentiate themselves from anyone else in the market" by selling professional services around the products.
But when asked by CRN, Bahr said there is "absolutely" still a place for resellers selling Cisco's traditional networking products.
"We are the leader by a lot in core routing and switching and we are still going to need to power all this innovation through enterprise networking, through collaboration and through the datacentre," she said. "This is just more opportunity. I think the thing is not to think of it as displacing someone but actually offering up more value-add.
"As much of the budget has moved out of IT and into the line of business, if you are a traditional reseller and you are not going to develop those capabilities yourself, you need to team up with an ecosystem partner that represents some interest in the bulk of your customer base so you start tapping to that budget."
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