We ask the PCR Retail Advisory Panel how the market for security software is shifting following the rise of smartphones and tablets, and how strongly hardware is selling in-store.
Chris Innes, Micro Plus Computers:
“We are changing our retail areas from the traditional product-on-shelf layout to an interactive ‘come and try’ feel, with more kit set up for our sales guys to demonstrate. I think CCTV systems in particular will benefit from being demonstrated – image quality has improved greatly and the ability to view your home or business remotely using a smartphone is a great feature to wow a customer with.
"CCTV hardware margins seem pretty decent too and I also like the fact that there is the potential add-on sale of an installation service.”
Chris Butterworth, Synaxon UK
“As prices fall and the technology becomes easier to understand and use, products become commoditised – and this is certainly happening with CCTV.
Once the domain of the highly specialist reseller and distributor, CCTV solutions are now being offered by almost all of the larger distributors. This is, in turn, being taken up by the independent reseller.
Importantly for them, it’s still a market where margin is still healthy. Both AV and CCTV remain growth markets for Synaxon members the independent reseller and managed service providers alike.
There are some great recurring revenue models available from the likes of Bullguard et al that can help independents make money easier, without them having to handle the renewals.”
Lorelei Gibb, Dolphin Upgrades:
“Security is a vital aspect of our business – all too often we have to pick up the pieces for an individual or company whose computer systems have failed, without them having any form of disaster recovery procedure.
We are firm believers in prevention rather than cure, and actively resell anti-virus and cloud backup solutions. Whilst this is beneficial to us as a business, we would much rather be selling these security measures than telling someone that they have lost everything.
Too many small businesses set up camp in the “it will never happen to me” field and too many believe that hackers aren’t interested in the ‘small fry’, whereas we all know these are the very people most likely to be hit.
In addition, with the technological advances in IP/CCTV systems, a thorough knowledge of the infrastructure required has led us to increase our sales dramatically in this area.
Security is still not given the serious attention it deserves – after all, where would a business be without its IT?”
Gavin Holder, GHI Computers:
“Most computer users have some kind of internet security software installed which requires a yearly subscription to keep up to date. This represents a yearly repeat sale for us, as customers often revisit following the inflated prices offered directly from the security companies.
"The big hole in the security market is in the mobile device sector. I’m one of those users who believe there is no threat to mobile devices. But this could change following a huge virus or Trojan targeted at Android or iOS. As we stock mobile device security software, we are ready for when that day comes – and it will, sooner or later. That’ll be the day when we see a new product line step into the IT channel in a big way.”
“Security is the lead driver in new business from hardware and software through to pure consulting. I think the market may be just as critical as it was 10 years ago, but now there is consumer level awareness and it is constantly getting focus in the media. Everyone knows they need security – they just don’t always know how to ask for it.”