At the Infosecurity show last week it was noted that the increasingly competitive Unified Threat Management (UTM) appliance market is forcing resellers to make tough choices about where to focus their attention and whose solutions to recommend. With such a wide choice, resellers must clearly define their target markets, understand the specific security requirements and map the latest vendor offerings to customer requirements. All of which sounds like a typical reseller’s day, except that UTM, as a solution category, is unusually fast moving.
The demand for integrated security solutions presented opportunities for ‘point product’ security vendors to collaborate by making their technologies compatible. This meant the granularity of security capabilities, offered by dedicated solutions, could be maintained while management and integration was simplified. As a result, resellers can continue to recommend best-of-breed software applications to enterprise clients and provide further services as complete solutions. However, recent developments in UTM offer further opportunities for resellers.
The introduction and multiplication of UTM appliances presents resellers with three options: avoid the UTM market and concentrate on established point solutions; sell UTM to the receptive SME market; focus on communicating the value that UTM offers to larger organisations.
Many SMEs have been quick to adopt UTM security infrastructures. UTM appliances provide good performance with a broad base of protection that addresses all core security functions, sufficient granularity for most environments, simple implementation and ease of management, all at far lower total cost of ownership than best-of-breed point solutions.
Marketing UTM solutions to enterprise customers as an alternative to best-of-breed point solutions is challenging. Enterprise customers often believe they require the high level of granularity offered by point solutions.
An enterprise will need to know the capability of each of the UTM’s components and which vendor has supplied the technology. It is likely they will investigate how the different technologies are integrated, whether or not they can be updated via the main interface and how they can be managed. Resellers must have command of all this information to stand a chance of selling a complete security solution. C
David Ellis is director of e-security and professional services at Computerlinks
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