As the security market continues to mature, major player Optiv says channel partners must adapt to the changing demands of customers in terms of consumption models - something at which the security partner is seeking to be at the fore, Todd Weber, VP of partner research and strategy at Optiv, told CPI in an interview.
Of note, clients are experiencing fatigue when it comes to security technology, meaning a change in approach from the channel is vital to survival, Weber said.
"Many of our clients are tired of just acquiring pieces of technology - and it's not that they don't like technology, it's not that they don't see value in it, but they're fatigued by it, because it takes so much time and effort and just overall resources to get things to where they want them to be. And then to fit them into a cyber operations program becomes even harder."
To tackle this, channel partners need to pivot further towards services and away from technology-focused transactions if they are to survive, Weber said, which is where Optiv has the edge, according to the VP.
"Optiv wants to be at the forefront of that direction and I think we're well positioned to provide those kinds of things because we have such a huge services depth to start with," he said.
Weber expects customers to become less concerned about the underlying technology they are employing as they become more heavily focused on the outcomes they're seeking. As such, Optiv is focusing its efforts here, although Weber notes it's not necessarily easy.
"This stuff is difficult. If everybody could have done it a long time ago, they would have done it. But complexity breeds opportunity, meaning that we see the opportunity to provide these outcomes for our clients in ready-baked solutions that can be taken advantage of on day one, instead of having to go through an entire maturity process that will take, in some cases, years. We can get them there much more quickly, as can service providers in general," he said.
To facilitate this focus, Optiv is set to develop a number of as-a-service offerings over the next 12 to 24 months that will offer customers ways to consume their technologies as a service, "regardless of what the back-end technology will be".
The service provider is also set to continue its focus on identity, Weber said, noting that this is being driven by the trend of the perimeter moving around and "people's structures of how they design and architect, as well as understand the concept of where the perimeter is". This concept, he said, is being driven by who you are, not where you are.
"Traditional networks were always set up with you knowing you're inside the network, which means you have access to however many things are there, because you're inside the network. But as soon as you go to Starbucks, then it's you against McAfee or Symantec or whomever else," he said.
"And so the concept of identity is what defines what people have access to, how they have access to it, and securing that communication channel, as opposed to just ‘Am I inside the network or outside the corporate network?'."
To tackle all these things, channel partners will need to be less concerned with the underlying technology of their offerings and more concerned with the outcomes their customers are seeking, which will force them to pivot in order to achieve this, Weber said.
"When people want to consume in a marketplace model, what do they need the channel for? They need the channel to help them put all these things together. And that's where the channel needs to become more of a service provider if it wants to survive."
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