Field Effects mission is to strengthen the IT security operations of businesses of all sizes, worldwide. We believe it should be easier for CTOs, CIOs, IT managers, and IT staff alike to develop their cyber security expertise and implement sophisticated operational capabilities.
When you partner with Field Effect, you get the most sophisticated and innovative threat protection around, an entire team of the world's best security analysts at your fingertips, and all the tools and training you need to sell, market, and deliver cyber security.
Can you describe the key elements of your partner programme?
There are two core elements to our programme that I think really highlight the unique value we bring to our partners. The first one is our deep expertise in cyber security. We not only have some of the best minds in cyber, but we make that knowledge, expertise, and experience available to all of our channel partners.
Many of the MSPs we work with are technology experts, but they aren't cyber security experts - and they shouldn't have to be. We're finding that because of this, some MSPs are hesitant to engage in security conversations with their prospects and customers. We eliminate that burden for them. Our security team is more than happy to be part of the pre- and post-sales processes with our partners and their end customers.
The second core element is simplicity. At Field Effect, our mission is to bring simplicity to the complex and changing cyber security market for our managed service providers and their customers — and this is reflected in everything we do from our solutions, services, pricing, and support through to our partner programme.
We have a comprehensive programme, but there aren't a lot of moving parts, complex rebate schemes, complicated training, or expensive certification. The cyber security market has become unnecessarily overly complicated and we're working hard to change that.
What do you believe are the key challenges facing the channel this year?
I think the bigger question might be what challenges aren't they facing. The ground shifted in 2020 and it's continuing to move bringing with it more challenges. The sudden push to remote work caused many headaches for the channel and now, at the beginning of this ‘return to work' phase, it appears many people will continue to work from home. As a result, we're witnessing the slow death of the local network and the birth of hybrid infrastructures on a scale we haven't seen before, both of which present enormous challenges for many MSPs.
The other challenge I see is the changing ecosystem for technology purchases. The buyer profile is changing. New generations of decision makers are seeking different, more independent buyer experiences. The buyer can now go deep into their buyer journey without much direct interaction with a salesperson. This has spawned a growing "marketplace" economy driven by Microsoft, Amazon, and Google - all of which are picking up serious steam. Some vendors are also cutting transactional compensation for partners on licensing. These things are having a significant downstream impact on the channel. Partners need to understand the ecosystem they are operating in, what their role is in that ecosystem, and how best to influence the sales cycles.
What do you see as the biggest opportunity for your partners over the next 12-18 months?
Of course, I'm going to take a security-centric position, but I really do believe managed security services is the biggest opportunity for the channel - both in terms of the value they can bring to their customers as well as a way to increase margins by delivering a premium service.
The managed security market is seeing significant growth. Last year, it was valued at $27.70bn and is expected to reach $64.73bn by 2025. This is because cyber security requirements are changing. The threat actors are quickly moving downstream. Small and medium businesses know this. They are seeing these attacks in the news every day and they often don't have security experts inhouse, so they are looking to their service providers for help.
These circumstances have created a perfect storm for MSPs that want to grow and differentiate their business with managed security. The channel needs to take a thought-leadership position with their customers and explain that because of the changing nature of cyber attacks, they are no longer protected with antivirus and a firewall. They need a premium service, which is more expensive than what they currently have, but it's significantly less expensive than a breach and the associated recovery costs.
How does your channel strategy and partner programme address these challenges and opportunities?
I think this goes back to the core elements of our partner programme. Having access to exceptional cyber security talent and helping our partners drive those security conversations is helping our partners grow and deliver their managed security services. We are truly an extension of their cyber security practice. We have all of the resources and assets and programmes to support our partners, but they can also tap into deep cyber security expertise at any time during the sales cycle, so they are not only engaging in more security conversations with their customers, but their time to value is much faster.
Everyone knows that finding security talent is one of the core challenges when it comes to security. So if you're not able to pull that expertise inhouse, how are you going to deliver security services? How are you going to support your customers? And that's where we come in. Our programme is really designed to provide our partners with access to the best cyber security minds on the planet. You aren't just interacting with a platform or a program, you're talking to cyber security experts any time you want.
What one technology trend will shape the IT channel the most over the next 12-18 months?
I would point back to one of the trends I mentioned earlier - ransomware attacks and breaches are increasing and moving downstream. As a result, customers' security expectations are shifting and many MSPs are facing very difficult decisions. They can stay with the status quo - and compete largely on price and increase the risk of a breach - or evolve their practice to include managed security. Successful service providers are doing the latter. They are doing this by moving away from managing traditional security devices such as firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and adopting managed detection and response solutions that are easy to implement and manage. This approach allows MSPs to easily deliver comprehensive protection to their customers as well as simplify operations, differentiate their business, improve customer retention, and increase profitability.
Andrew Milne is chief revenue officer for Field Effect Software
Andrew leads worldwide revenue, sales, integrated marketing and communication strategies for Field Effect, a global cyber security company specializing in intelligence-grade protection for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). With a career that spans more than two decades, Andrew builds and creates connections between products, clients, and market fit. He inspires customers and teams to innovate, change, and challenge traditional business thinking. He is a sought-after speaker on SMB cyber security best practices, workforce dynamics, marketing, digital transformation and audience engagement, and how these topics will shape the future of business.