Over the past year there has been a shift in the way organisations buy IT security. I have seen the price-led beauty contests, with parades of VARs played off against each other, changing into longer term, closer partnerships in which resellers handle the customer’s security needs via a mix of products and managed services.
Operating costs are under pressure, and security is just one part of an ever-expanding infrastructure for hard-pressed IT teams. Also, delivering and enforcing security is becoming more complex, causing organisations to seek expert assistance.
Earlier this year, we asked 120 senior IT staff in the public and private sectors about their security problems and spending plans.
Asked to name their security-related business issues for 2009, about 60 cited data security compliance. Nearly half mentioned security reporting and monitoring, while data leak prevention was the third biggest issue.
These often require consultancy, tailored services and support from a trusted partner. As a result, I am hearing about margin pressures easing, and more fruitful links between VAR and end user.
We think resellers should help customers drive down costs. Demonstrating how you can cut IT operating costs and simplify security will make it easy to sell services. Customers are looking inward, focusing on optimising business processes to boost operational efficiency and cut costs.
Sharpen your focus on your target market. This means revisiting existing customers, to get to know them better than anyone else.
Help to prepare customers for when the tide turns. Although IT budgets this year have mostly remained static, most networks are still expanding, adding users and devices.
If you can help customers manage their networks more efficiently, they will be in a stronger position as the economy picks up.
Team up with vendors to spot and develop opportunities. We recently put together an internal lead-generation team to identify reseller business. In 10 weeks we identified more than £1m of business that was not previously on our radar, or that of our channel.
Most of the senior IT staff we polled said the current economic climate would not affect their IT security spend. So there is still a market there for resellers that can offer the right services and skills.
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