Ignition warns resellers of shift away from appliance-based security

Tom Wright
clock • 5 min read

Ignition CSO Sean Remnant tells partners to focus on software-based tech as the distributor showcases its vendors at The Shard in London

Security distributor Ignition Technology is "avoiding appliances like the plague" as it focuses on pure software security solutions, according to chief strategy officer Sean Remnant.

Speaking at Ignition's partner update event at The Shard in London, which saw the distributor showcase its vendors, Remnant explained that Ignition and its emerging vendors are leading the way in moving security away from appliances and into fully software-based solutions.

Founded in 2015, Ignition currently carries 3GRC, Cato Networks, Cloudistics, Cylance, Digital Guardian, Illusive networks, Menlo Security, RiskIQ and WhiteHat Security in the UK.

"Appliances and boxes are on a slippery slope," Remnant said. "We believe that everyone, including the consumers, is interested in software-based delivery models, consumption-based models, and they absolutely want annuity and subscription services.

"Going down that route means that we are doing away with the old-school, hardware-based approach and that's really hard for the channel to swallow, including the vendors."

Legacy tech

Remnant explained that these software-led vendors are looking to displace legacy technology that has been failing customers for the past three decades.

He said the security sector has got itself stuck in a rut of adding layer upon layer of products to the security stack, which has left users with complicated security infrastructures producing a mass of security data that is impossible to interpret.

Because of this, there needs to be a shift towards more intelligent solutions that can assess the data themselves and act accordingly in an automated fashion, he explained.

"There is a lot of legacy technology - signatures, behavioural analysis, sandboxing - it's all very old tech and a lot of it has been around for 30 years," he said.

"The CISO in a lot of enterprises is getting a really hard time. All of us in this room have sold the CISO a number of appliances and a number of solutions and they're still getting problems.

"We don't think more layers are necessarily better - that's just a route that we have gone down as an industry because stuff hasn't worked - but it was the best that we had at the time. I don't feel guilty, because it was just the best that we had at the time.

"If you've got response solutions you'll probably need resources to look [through the data] for those needles in the haystack, which might be good for consultancy but it's not particularly good for the customer, so what we want to do is drive down the operation cost of owning security infrastructure."

David Lannin, director of technology at security reseller Sapphire, attended the event and told CRN that in his experience, clients are looking for ways to protect their IT without having to employee a large team of security specialists.

"Organisations' budgets are stretched and so they simply don't have the resources for employing large teams of individuals who look after complex security systems which turn out an awful lot of security information," he said.

"Any vendor that tries to put a degree of intelligence behind what it's accessing, rather than just offering all the information, is going to really help because of resourcing - people just don't have time to read through log information anymore. Very few customers I meet with these days talk about having analysts looking through the same degree of security logs as they might have done 10, 15 years ago."

Menlo Security

Lannin said that of the vendors Ignition has brought to the UK so far, internet and email vendor Menlo Security is the one that has caught his eye the most.

Menlo's isolation platform opens websites in a secure cloud-based container, displaying only a replica of the website on the end-point device, which keeps potentially harmful material away from the machine itself.

Speaking at the event, Menlo's EMEA CTO Jason Steer said that the vendor addresses a problem that has existed since the internet's inception.

"Your web browser is still using 1995 architecture and that architecture is the reason why ransomware continues to be a problem," he said.

"Every click a user makes on a web browser, on average the browser makes 31 background requests to advertising, tracking and social media.

"Your web browser allows it. In any other protocol that you come across on the internet, would you accept unsigned, unauthenticated, active code and execute it on the end-point without anything other than an anti-virus scan? No, it is fundamentally wrong. It's completely out of kilter with the threats that we face today."

Lannin explained that Sapphire started speaking to Menlo last year, with a view to adding the vendor to its portfolio in 2017.

"We're about to start working with Menlo for the end-point side of things," he said. "That's going to be a new addition to our portfolio in 2017 and we really like what they're doing.

"The idea of putting that virtual air gap between what's out there on the internet and what the user actually sees is a really interesting way of offering security.

"It's a new technology and we're excited to read about what's in their road map and keen to see that come to fruition over the next few months. They've had a fairly active time since I engaged with them at InfoSec last year, and the technology has evolved an awful lot since then in a very positive manner, hence the intention to get them included in our portfolio."

Cato Networks

Perhaps the most disruptive vendor in Ignition's portfolio is network and security vendor Cato Networks, founded by Shlomo Kramer, the man behind Check Point.

Cato offers a cloud-based enterprise network which it says eradicates the need for a number of network and security solutions that have typically been sold as individual appliances and layered up, including network firewall hardware.

Introducing Cato, Remnant warned partners that the technology will "potentially disrupt a lot of channel business", which Lannin said could alienate partners.

"There was a room full of resellers that have been selling security technology to their customers for in some cases 20 years and now Cato Networks are coming in and talking about ripping out that technology; ripping out that investment in security infrastructure, in favour of moving to the Cato cloud where security is embedded.

"I don't follow that - it's great if you're a greenfield site and you don't have that security already, but for a reseller community where they're talking about actively stripping out those elements that you've worked so hard to get into your customers, I don't think that's a great pitch."

You may also like
Illumio to light up UK & Ireland business with first distribution partnership

Vendor

Ignition will be Illumio’s first UK&I distributor as the vendor aims to double business in the region

clock 14 December 2023 • 4 min read
13 distie bosses name most-respected rival

Distributor

Dave Stevinson, Jatti Sahni and Michael Frisby among those to doff cap to a competitor they think is doing a good job

clock 07 September 2022 • 4 min read
45 Distributors You Need to Know 2022 - Part One

Distributor

Meet the UK IT distribution players ranked 45th to 31st in this year's countdown

clock 12 August 2022 • 28 min read

Sign up to our newsletter

The best news, stories, features and photos from the day in one perfectly formed email.

More on Security

Opportunity knocks: AI PCs and the doors they may open for computing

Opportunity knocks: AI PCs and the doors they may open for computing

CRN
clock 10 July 2024 • 3 min read
How real is the AI threat for security teams?

How real is the AI threat for security teams?

Scott Tyson, Sophos
clock 28 June 2024 • 5 min read
Leading Cyber founders tackle UK cyber sector's biggest challenge

Leading Cyber founders tackle UK cyber sector's biggest challenge

With more women leaving the industry than ever before due to poor management, former reseller chief Annabel Berry, and business partner Danielle Phillips aim to reverse that trend with their new mentoring and leadership platform

clock 21 May 2024 • 3 min read

Highlights

Staff & Salaries 2022

Staff & Salaries 2022

A snapshot of pay and headcount trends in the UK channel

Doug Woodburn
clock 09 March 2022 • 1 min read
Midwich CEO on Nimans acquisition, 2021 results and return to pre-pandemic levels

Midwich CEO on Nimans acquisition, 2021 results and return to pre-pandemic levels

Stephen Fenby talks to CRN after Midwich’s 2021 results in which profitability exceeded pre-pandemic levels

Josh Budd
clock 08 March 2022 • 3 min read
4 more vendors suspend sales in Russia following Ukraine invasion

4 more vendors suspend sales in Russia following Ukraine invasion

IBM and Microsoft are among a number of vendors which have also announced that they will halt sales in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

clock 08 March 2022 • 3 min read