The IT channel must do more to help protect customers from cybercrime

In this opinion piece, Florian Malecki from Dell says partners must help SMBs understand the importance of key security solutions such as Firewall-as-a-Service.

Even in 2016, some enterprises across Europe still have a surprising lack of understanding around the importance of protecting data and IT infrastructure with up-to-date security.

When you look at some of the impacts of ransomware, it’s critical that organisations don’t ignore technologies that could make their work more secure.

Barriers to this are traditionally around cost and a simple lack of information which is where the channel can become a trusted advisor, not only supporting their customers on finding the best price point, but also using their industry expertise to educate customers on the necessary mission critical technology.

When it comes to information or know-how, it is often difficult for small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) to keep up with the latest developments and adapt their security measures to every new threat. This is where more and more SMBs are asking a trusted IT partner to help them with their security.

Firstly, channel partners need to work with IT professionals to ensure that the key decision-makers within their customers’ organisations fully understand the nature and scale of today’s cyber-threats.

Many of these are dynamic and sophisticated, searching for any and all opportunities to infiltrate company networks and steal information, ransom data and sometimes even simply to disrupt operations – potentially costing victims anything from several thousands to millions.

As the front-line fight against cybercrime is constantly advancing, it’s critical to continue identifying new vectors and vulnerabilities whilst developing fixes and broader protective measures to prevent future attacks. Therefore, to ensure that a business has sufficient protection for its files, intellectual property, finances and confidential information, it is necessary to employ a solution which also evolves, responding to the ever changing threat landscape.

Enterprises of all shapes and sizes will therefore need some assistance from the channel in terms of promoting greater awareness of cyber threats and the potential consequences of being caught out with insufficient protective measures in place.

But this is only half the story, as these arguments alone are unlikely to sway organisations towards putting more money into buying new technologies, particularly as few businesses have the internal IT expertise to operate these new solutions effectively.

In a world where the cloud has become ubiquitous, why should any business expect to buy security upfront and manage it themselves? That is the thinking of an increasing proportion of SMBs that are turning to a trusted IT partner to look after security for them. Security technology lends itself extremely well to the cloud model.

Instead of investing in best-of-breed devices or software – which, by the end of the five-year procurement cycle, may no longer be fit for purpose – businesses that choose cloud security have peace of mind from knowing that their provider is constantly updating devices, software and protocols to protect against the latest security threats.

Some of the most important security technologies, including Next Generation Firewalls, Secure Mobile Access and E-mail Security solutions can have a high initial investment point that may put customers off.

This is where new positioning around traditional technologies such as firewalls comes in. For example, Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS), where partners can offer their customers all the hardware, software and services necessary to operate a comprehensive and up-to-date network security solution for enterprise customers.

With a fixed monthly fee, businesses can hand their firewall security over to a dedicated organisation which maintains the very latest versions of the most effective security platforms on the market, thereby protecting their assets without having to allocate additional funds for upgrades and training staff.

Channel partners can continue to thrive as expert advisers and providers of the best technologies to suit each customer’s specific needs.

FwaaS will go a long way towards bolstering resellers’ reputations as problem solvers; saving their clients considerable investment in security technology, whilst also creating new revenue streams from complementary services such as reporting, analysis, consulting, and configuration changes.

About the author

Florian Malecki is international product marketing director for Network Security at Dell.

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