Fred Mitchell, Symantec Business Unit Manager at distributor Drive Control Corporation (DCC)
The information companies hold most dear are their client and sales databases. Lose them, damage them or steal them and the company may well not recover from loss of business momentum or loss of reputation. Securing this data has thus become as important as ensuring the continued availability of this data. This is reflected in an intensifying trend to merge security and availability solutions into a single package – something that is causing some consternation in the channel as the skills sets needed to implement security and availability solutions differ considerably.
Security breaches are today primarily driven by the desire to acquire customer databases, ID numbers and contact details for purposes of spamming, fraud or gaining access to a competitors’ client and sales information. And if the information cannot be stolen, simply damaging a competitor’s database will provide some advantage. Companies also cannot rule out the damage that can be caused by disgruntled employees or simple ignorance, damage that is usually quite subtle and may only be discovered some time after the act.
This being the case, vendors have over the last few years begun to package together the security – antivirus, firewall, anti-spam, data access and authorisation, etc – components with an availability or backup management solution. The rub, however, lies in the fact that the reseller’s security expert is not necessarily an availability expert. This could foul the entire installation as one aspect of the solution cannot function optimally without the other.
A security specialist will know where to plug gaps in the network to protect the company against viruses, spam, Trojans, and intrusion. An availability expert, on the other hand, will understand how to configure an availability solution to maximum effect. He will understand ratios, for instance – i.e., what needs to be backed up and the time needed to do this; how long it will take to recover data – as well as other intricacies of backup, e.g. – what passwords are needed, how to, and what portions of a MS Exchange server need to be backed up.
Acquiring these skills is becoming very important for resellers of security solutions in order to provide a good service to their customers. For the vendors of these solutions it is becoming vital as the reputation of their products hang in the balance. DCC as a value added distributor is keenly aware of how difficult it is for resellers to continually ramp up their skills, however. It has thus devised a solution – in the form of a services package – that will allow resellers to leverage DCC’s highly skilled resource base.
Rather than provide a less than satisfactory security/availability implementation or lose a customer to a competitor with the necessary skills, DCC is offering its resellers the option to acquire the skills it needs via a services package. This will give the reseller time to acquire the necessary skills, but still allow them to in the meantime provide the necessary implementation service.
DCC’s provision of transparent services to resellers in the areas of installation, support and maintenance, and the ability of resellers to in turn offer these services transparently to the end user, represents an evolution of the channel in many respects – one that resellers would do well to take every advantage of.