Ingram Micro announced its new cyber security push earlier this month with the unveiling of a cyber security centre of excellence in Singapore. But how does the distributor intend to make inroads into an already crowded market? CRN spoke to Ingram’s head of Advanced Solutions Brett Armstrong to get the low down.
Cyber security has been one of the biggest growth drivers for the channel in 2020 as Australian companies have sought to enable remote working on an unprecedented scale. Sales of virtual private networks (VPNs) saw a huge bump in the early part of 2020 and multi-factor authentication too saw big sales, according to local distributors.
While there has already been wide adoption of these technologies, there is still space for more partner profitability Armstrong said. He explained that as part of the push, the distributor was focusing on its existing partners without current security practices and security specialists transacting with other distributors.
“We are getting an immense amount of feedback from partners that are happy to do volume sales of cybersecurity, but a lot of those partners only believe that cybersecurity is a firewall and endpoint protection,” he told CRN.
“What we want to do is actually help in the initial consultation and design, and through that phase, actually helping teach our partners on what that journey might look like of actually designing out what a solution should look like.
“Then from there, take it to the next level, and actually have our team as a white label service through the installation for our partners, but at the same time having our partners learning from what we are doing in that scenario as well.
On the established non-security focused partners, Armstrong said some were amongst the most well known IT providers in the country.
“They just haven't had a focus on cyber and have really just relied on volume sales of licenses or hardware, they really wanted to get deeper into that technology set,” he explained.
“Then there are the existing partners that do have a portfolio of products that potentially might be under-resourced as the explosion of cybersecurity continues to form and take shape, so they want to rely on us to help them as a subset of their own organisation.”
Despite an increased focus on cyber security from the Federal Government, recent reporting from CRN showed that a large number of IT decision makers still were not taking the risks to their organisations as seriously as they could be.
Armstrong believes this attitude is changing rapidly.
“I think what COVID has done with working from home has accelerated the conversation around cyber. And I think we're seeing that through the results of the business,” he said.
“Our cyber security numbers with vendors are up across the board. The conversations we're having with partners is drastically up and the reliance on us even in some of our training with Fortinet, we're providing more and more Fortinet training than what we ever have before.
So I think that's changing since COVID. And I think it has got, it certainly captured the imagination now of our sea. of our CIOs and others alike. Now, I think, with COVID, and working from home is accelerated the opportunity of cyber, no doubt. Yeah, so we're seeing a huge uptake in the last six to eight months within this cyber realm.
Ingram Micro’s cyber security portfolio consists of the following vendors.
- VMware – Carbon Black
- Trend Micro
One area of increased engagement, according to Armstrong, has been with Cisco and IBM.
“We've seen a really strong growth in Cisco security products in our portfolio, but even solutions orientations that are multi vendor. So in some cases, we're building some really great products or great solutions, combining Cisco and IBM,” he said.
IBM QRadar plus Cisco Firepower and QRadar plus ICE, were two such multi-vendor offerings which Armstrong said had been particularly successful.
As part of the distributor’s investment in its security business, Armstrong said Ingram Micro had separated the cyber security practice into its own division within the advanced solutions business.
“But what cyber security does, it really underpins all of [Ingram Micro Advanced Solutions] practices, connectivity, cloud and data centre. So it is the webbing or the glue that brings it all together,” he said.
“What we're finding now is that there's a really great crossover between our leaders of each one of those practices in actually helping to think about cyber in everything that we do. And the reason that's happened to us [is related to] the change in vendors.
“VMware, now a huge data centre playing cloud play for us, they've recently bought Carbon Black. But they've also got SD-WAN with VeloCloud as a connectivity point. So while we have got our really defined technology pillars and practices, we're seeing a real overlap of the technologies across all of those, and the teams are really coming together to bring a solution.
“It's not just here selling that volume play anymore for us, It's also adding the value. Volume is still at the core of everything we do. But there's a big play for us of adding value across multiple practices, and even potentially vendors now."