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  • Successful channel partners will focus on three key areas—processes, skills and products—to ensure that they are well-positioned for new opportunities in enterprise security, according to a new CompTIA survey of 400 IT channel professionals. This translates into having the right expertise, resources, skills and mix of security tools beyond firewalls and antivirus software to engage in continuous security conversations with their existing and potential customers. The study, Security in the IT Channel, finds that a security offering is more than a simple production installation and is an ongoing process, thanks to new technology models that are changing how companies address security. "Security products alone aren't enough," said Seth Robinson, senior director, technology analysis, CompTIA. "New processes—risk analysis, compliance management and cloud provider evaluation—must be part of the security mix. Education of end users, the weakest link in the security chain, also requires greater emphasis." Channel Insider examines key takeaways from the study that offer insight into why channel partners must be more proactive in customer education as well as training and service management.

  • When companies fall victim to ransomware attacks, downtime seems to hurt them more than ransom costs, and the majority of managed service providers and VARs aren't recouping the time and money they spend on wiping and restoring their computer systems. These are a few key findings of the 2016 Crypto-Ransomware Report, conducted by Intermedia, a provider of cloud business applications. The survey of nearly 300 IT consultants, including MSPs and VARs, said that downtime translated into big concerns such as data recovery costs, reduced customer satisfaction, missed deadlines and lost sales. On average, companies didn't have access to their data for three days after a ransom attack. This indicates that few companies have business continuity solutions for ransomware outbreaks, according to Intermedia. Surprisingly, 45 percent of IT consultants did not bill their customers for the time spent helping them recover from ransomware attacks, even though many customers were willing to pay an incremental fee. Here are key takeaways from the study that show how MSPs and resellers can help protect their customers against ransomware.

  • There are big gaps in cyber-security education and training for C-level executives and board members responsible for protecting their companies from security breaches and attacks, according to a survey conducted by CyberVista and Zogby Analytics. This can lead to big challenges in how an organization addresses IT security issues. For example, despite growing cyber-threats and a shortage of IT pros with security skills, the online survey of 300 CXOs finds that only one-fourth believe recruiting and retaining security pros is a top priority. "As with all other corporate risks, board members and executives ultimately bear responsibility for cyber-security issues, and must take steps to create a culture of security that prioritizes addressing cyber-risks across their entire organization," Amjed Saffarini, CEO of cyber-security training firm CyberVista, said in a statement. "Increasing cyber-security training and education among leadership is critical to reducing vulnerabilities and ensuring sound business judgments." Here are key findings that demonstrate the need for security providers to help educate executives and board members on cyber-risks, particularly at smaller companies.

  • The fact that IT organizations and C-level business executives are not on the same page when it comes to IT security might not be a surprise to solution providers in the channel. However, a new survey of 1,100 senior executives conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on behalf of VMware shows how wide that divide is. EIU polled C-suite business executives (chief executives, chief financial officers and chief operating officers) and CIOs, chief data officers or chief information security officers at companies with between $500 million and $10 billion in revenue. The most striking difference is where cyber-security stands in terms of overall business priorities: Security and IT execs said it was the top priority, while business executives ranked it as No. 9. Most important from a channel perspective, the IT pros expected to be pouring much more money into IT security in the next two years. Yet less than 10 percent of the C-suite execs said the same. Given those differences, "security executives need to configure their cyber-defenses to match the needs of the firm," the report concludes. We examine key trends from the research.

  • On average, the total cost of an IT security breach is closing in on a million dollars. Although large companies have more at stake than smaller ones, fixing the breach only accounts for about 15 percent of the total cost, according to the findings of new survey conducted by Vanson Bourne on behalf of NTT Communications. Based on a poll of 1,000 business decision-makers, the study shows that legal fees, fines and compensating customers and suppliers for losses make up the vast majority of the costs incurred when an IT security breach occurs. For IT solution providers across the channel, that means the cost of contracting their security services is generally still a fraction of what's at risk. However, the challenge is that even though most executives expect security breaches at their companies, the majority still felt their data was secure. Unfortunately, that paradox often makes it difficult to sell additional security services until well after a prospective customer has already been victimized. Channel Insider looks at key findings from the NTT Communications research.