By Diane Pieterse – South African companies are increasingly looking for complete, integrated cybersecurity platforms rather than best-of-breed solutions and shifting towards managed services as they seek to address a complex and fast-changing threat landscape. These trends create compelling opportunities for resellers to grow recurring revenues and add value for their customers.
That’s according to Alan Hawkins, GM of Enterprise Solutions at Tarsus Distribution. He says that years of industry consolidation, along with vendors investing heavily in their product ranges, mean that end-users can today find a single security software suite or software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that will address most, if not all of their security requirements.
Many leading cybersecurity vendors today can offer integrated platforms spanning functionality such as identity and access management; endpoint, email, and application security; data loss prevention; cloud security; and security incident and event management (SIEM) or managed detection and response (MDR).
This enables end-users or their reseller partners to standardise on a single platform, cutting costs, simplifying administration and integration, and reducing the need to develop skills across multiple vendors, says Hawkins. “Given the budget pressure and skills shortage most companies face today, simplifying security is an appealing proposition,” adds Hawkins.
Research from the Information Systems Security Association and Enterprise Strategy Group shows that this is an international trend. Nearly half of the organisations in the survey said they are consolidating or considering consolidating security vendors; more than half said they tend to purchase or will future purchase security platforms rather than best-of-breed products.
Says Hawkins: “The shift towards integrated security solutions goes hand-in-hand with a growing preference for SaaS and managed security providers (MSPs). Enterprises want to focus on their core business and increase operational efficiencies, but they recognise that they need specialist expertise and world-class infrastructure to keep data and networks secure.”
With integrated security platforms maturing and becoming more comprehensive, resellers are increasingly able to build up skills and get certifications on one or two strategic vendor platforms, says Hawkins. They can offer end-user companies a single solution without needing to offer a wide range of complementary point solutions.
Organisations and IT resellers are struggling to keep pace with the speed at which cyberthreats are multiplying and growing in sophistication, says Hawkins. Value-added distributors are helping to fill in some of the skills gaps with presales consulting, training and other enablement services.
The vendor or a value-added distributor will usually handle many of the infrastructural requirements such as hosting the solution and running the 24/7 security operations centre. That means resellers don’t need to make massive investments in tools and platforms to play in the SaaS or MSP space—they can focus on offering services and consulting.
“The move towards an as-a-service model benefits resellers by enabling them to build a predictable revenue stream,” says Hawkins. “It also allows them to build customer relationships for the long term. Those that are not positioning themselves for a more consumption-based model for security solutions risk losing relevance with their customers.”
Diane Pieterse, business unit manager: security at Tarsus Distribution