Professional services are highly sought after when it comes to the IT security industry. The reason for this trend is that more sophisticated skills than ever are being required by IT teams in modern security protection.
Cyber crime is big business after all, and cyber criminals are using ever more sophisticated methods to plunder businesses.
As social networking applications blend with traditional corporate activity, and more employees than ever begin working from home, increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computing infrastructure genuinely threaten businesses' competitive edge and bottom line.
Security-focused VARs are in a unique position to provide the necessary security products and services - and also deliver these highly specialised skills.
However, too many VARs in the IT security market focus too much on shifting boxes, which means that vendors are left to be responsible for deployment and providing related professional services. Yet this can leave customers unsupported as new or upgraded technology is introduced to the market.
I have worked on the vendor and the reseller side. Why are security VARs not investing more in improving their professional service capabilities?
Vendors simply do not have the ability to provide these services; the reseller must be able to recruit or train technical staff who can not only identify and analyse customer risk but implement working offerings, with staff input, that ensure problems get solved.
There will be security VARs out there that perhaps do not have the capital to make this adjustment or add the technical knowledge - but those who simply don't want to change are in danger of becoming irrelevant if they don't adapt.
Security is a dynamic market so resellers need to really be up with the play when it comes to advising, installing, configuring, managing, and maintaining security for customers. In fact, the expanding demand for consultancy is actually a huge opportunity for partners.
Being that specialist adviser means the customer can be helped to realise the true value of a security product, making the VAR a business partner rather than a supplier. This is more likely to result in a resale down the track.
This is particularly pertinent in the data loss prevention (DLP) market, where a lack of understanding and advice sees many programmes fail, when all that was needed was a more strategic approach to be taken by a specialist security reseller.
More companies of all sizes are looking to specialist security resellers to deliver managed, professional security services around DLP.
I believe the research suggests that keeping business-critical information safe is now crucial. CIOs have never been under more pressure to keep their companies' critical data protected.
Security VARs that take responsibility for addressing customer information security and build a team with direct and long-standing experience in the market, and which understand the importance of professional services, will be the firms that profit the most in 2014 and beyond.
Lior Arbel is chief technology officer at Performanta
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