Comstor says it wants to be known as a "security distributor that sells Cisco, rather than a Cisco distributor that sells security" as it ploughs on with growing its security business.
Comstor made a commitment to Cisco to co-invest in its security business last November, and now has seven dedicated security heads in the UK.
In the past six months, the distributor claims its partners have carried out 46 security assessments using Cisco's firewall appliances, generating a pipeline of $1.4m (£0.96m).
On its recent Q2 earnings call, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said security remains "the most critical priority" for its customers. Cisco's total security sales leapt 11 per cent in Q2, with advanced threat security up 180 per cent and web security up 40 per cent.
Comstor UK lead Clive Hailstone (pictured) told CRN that Comstor had responded to Cisco's call for one of its distributors to get laser-focused on security.
"There was a bit of concern that Cisco might go and sign a specialist security distributor," he said.
"But we said we are absolutely able to do that and are willing to co-invest in becoming a security distributor that happens to have security in our portfolio, rather than a Cisco distributor that sells Cisco."
The focus has initially been on creating end-user demand via proof of value assessments for Cisco's ASA firewall appliances, but Comstor has since thrown its weight behind Arbor Networks, a DDoS mitigation vendor with which Cisco has an OEM relationship (and is also carried directly by Comstor sister company Westcon Security). Recent Cisco acquisition OpenDNS, as well as Cisco-owned wireless vendor Meraki, will also form part of the distributor's security offering.
Comstor UK commercial director Richard Carpenter said a key challenge will be dispelling the perception among end users and resellers that Cisco lacks clout in the security space.
"Cisco say they have 21 per cent market share, which makes them number one," he said. "But I came [to Comstor] from a security background and Cisco was never mentioned in the security marketplace. There is a real drive from Cisco to show the market they have some really good solutions in their portfolio, and their aim is to stand up and be counted.
"We are looking at existing Cisco networking resellers who have been too scared to look at security. We're saying 'you trust Cisco to run the network, so why wouldn't you trust them to run security?'."
Jay McDonald, Cisco Security architectural lead at Comstor, said running a security assessment using Cisco's ASA firewalls is an easy door-opener for partners to have a conversation with customers and start developing a Cisco security pipeline.
"A lot of end customers don't realise that Cisco does security; they are a big, broad beast and don't have that mind share," he said. "The value of [the security assessment] to resellers is that end users see Cisco as a player in the security market, rather than leaving it to the Check Points or Palo Altos," he said.
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