Securing profitability: opportunities for partners

Shahnawaz Sheikh, regional director, SonicWall Middle East, Africa and Turkey, shares insight on protecting profitability and opportunities for those involved in the regional channel.

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Securing profitability: opportunities for partners Sheikh says channel companies that are security-focused, are by definition the subject-matter experts.
By  Shahnawaz Sheikh Published  June 28, 2012

Shahnawaz Sheikh, regional director, SonicWall Middle East, Africa and Turkey, shares insight on protecting profitability and opportunities for those involved in the regional channel.

If there is one truth in computing technology, it is that nothing lasts forever. From microprocessors to applications, the pace of change and innovation continues to accelerate in computing. Today’s state of the art will be tomorrow’s ‘need to upgrade’.
The pervasiveness of the Internet, the growth of cloud computing, and the proliferation of multiple devices inside the corporate firewall are all rapidly changing the stakes for IT management. Today’s IT managers must continue to secure key business data while optimising for network performance and speed.

This is particularly true when thinking about network security at the firewall. Just because a company’s current firewall is not being breached today does not mean that it won’t be tomorrow. The absence of an immediate problem is not a guarantee of future security—older generation firewalls will not be up to the task of security content at the application level or providing tools for managing bandwidth in a dynamic big data environment.

One of the effects of this gap between old and new—the pace of change and innovation in next-generation firewall (NGFW) technology—has been to create significant sales and support opportunities for the channel. The NGFW market is estimated to encompass more than 14 million sites that are ready for upgrading and replacement.

Upgrading

Let’s start with the initial sale - one of the benefits of NGFWs is that they provide IT with a much richer, more sophisticated set of analysis and reporting. Dropping a new NGFW into an existing network, with the right software, can show immediate, side-by-side differences compared to older-generation firewalls. At SonicWall, we enable channel partners to deliver what we call a software risk management report (SWARM), which allows customers to see exactly what their current network traffic is like, so they gain granular insight and confidence into the SonicWall difference before they buy.

Attach and renew

The real value of NGFWs is not just in the hardware; it’s the combination of software and hardware that provides the right level of security for business networks. Because of the dynamic nature of security threats, channel companies have a great opportunity beyond the initial sale to develop longer-term revenue streams around services and after-sales support for customers.

Training

The channel has always been the one element in the distribution network that is best suited to provide on-site training. Channel firms that are security-focused are, by definition, the subject-matter experts. They are also geographically closest to the client data centre, and therefore are the ideal delivery vehicle for initial training.

The common thread that runs through all of this is the ability to go beyond the initial sale and to look at the NGFW opportunity on a long-term basis. The complexities of cloud computing and NGFW tech require a strong partnership between vendors and partners. While technology continues to change, one thing that does remain constant is how quality-focused resellers, who can provide solid service, support and training rise to the top of their industries. This is certainly the case for the NGFW space. It’s a sector ripe for resellers with the right products, tools and expertise, to secure profitability.

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