Securing dollars

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This article appeared in the Issue 183, 17 October 2005 issue of CRN magazine.

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Securing dollars
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It is not only massive government agencies that can benefit from network and desktop security services. Trevor Jacups, managing director at Sydney reseller Aleon Solutions, says his customers hail from a number of more prosaic verticals, including banking, finance, real estate and charity organisations.

Unipac's Piotrowski
Unipax's Piotrowski: Success is about knowing the right vendors

“The budget for IT departments in relation to security four years ago was significantly less than it is now,” he says. Aleon started offering security services four years ago and has seen ongoing growth. Security services have become a much more important and lucrative part of the reseller’s business. “In full year 2004, we grew about 300 percent by turnover and by full year 2005 we doubled,” Jacups says.

Aleon’s team has swelled to 14 in recent years and the reseller expects to field 20 by next June. Jacups says users are more aware of security issues now and fear what could happen to their businesses.

Meanwhile, costs keep increasing as the threats get more complex and diverse. “What we’ve actually found is that a lot of people buy a security product and then they don’t spend a great deal of time maintaining it,” he says. “What we’re offering is we actually install the product, rather than just sell it.” People often buy security products, Jacups says, then don’t know how to get the optimum value from them. Aleon’s practice sends engineers in regularly to ensure a security setup is performing its best. The reseller’s staff talk to support customers over the phone every week and meetings are scheduled every three months, he says.

“A few other people sell the product through the [customer’s] IT department. Some IT departments maintain very good standards and get very good life out of the products. But for those that don’t, in fact the product can become a burden,” he says.

Jacups says the market is becoming quite competitive. However, there could well be room for one or two more specialists prepared to invest. “There are a lot of people who sit on the fringe and have one trained engineer.” The biggest challenge is staying on top of security needs and solutions available. “Companies are not aware generally of where the next threat is going to come from and we do a lot of work in relation to disaster recovery and business continuity,” Jacups says.


Know your verticals

Tom Piotrowski, managing director at value-added distributor UnixPac, adds that success is about knowing the vendors and solutions used, not about having the right vendors or using high margin product. Good solutions will be easy to deploy and provide good information, he says. “So a lower margin appliance might be much simpler to deploy, maintain and manage. Consequently, there is a gain because the actual process of establishing the site for security is easier than deploying the higher margin software,” Piotrowski points out.

Scott McKinnel, country manager at Check Point, tends to agree. He says top resellers in the security space have built a dedicated security practice with specialist engineers and salespeople. Supporting one or two vendors in each space is better than being vendor-agnostic, he claims.

“Traditionally, those integrators who have been successful in selling managed security services have been those involved in large outsourcing agreements,” McKinnel says.

Market research firm IDC says web hosting, network and system security consulting are the most widely used IT services by SMBs.

Further, IT security adoption will intensify across industries in the Asia-Pacific outside Japan over the next five years, with investment in security solutions tipped to double or even more by 2008 across the region.

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