Security Gifts that Keep on GivingBy Michael Vizard | Posted 2007-02-01 Email Print
Opinion: After performance, look for a product that creates an opportunity to drive additional sales of products and services downstream.
There will be a lot of opportunities at the RSA show in early February for solution providers to discover a range of new products that will surely be of interest to any company involved helping their customers secure their IT assets.
But that range presents a problem: With so many products to choose from, solution providers don't have the bandwidth to support them all, so they are forced to make difficult choices.
Most of the security products at the show essentially do what they claim, so sorting out the channel winners from the also-rans is going to take a little more analysis than just figuring out which products work as advertised.
With that in mind, solution providers might want to take a harder look at products that actually do something for them in addition to the customer.
For example, Redseal Systems has launched an SRM-3000 security risk management platform that not only creates a map of the systems and applications on any given network, it also generates reports that identify the security risks, incorrectly configured systems and known threats associated with those assets.
Clearly that kind of information can be invaluable to the customer, but it's a major benefit to the solution provider that more often than not gets blamed when security issues arrive because somebody left the back door open to a known security exploit. And because that problem can't be the customer's fault, it's usually the solution provider that has to fall on the proverbial security sword.
But more importantly, the solution provider can benefit handsomely from the knowledge gained through something like the SRM-3000 because it gives the provider visibility into the customer's need for potential upgrades that can be more easily justified because of security risks associated with not upgrading the hardware or software in question.
As relative startups go, Redseal is unique because it came out of the gates with a channel program that signals a commitment to using solution providers as its primary route to market.
By comparison, most other startups in the security space are focused on landing a few anchor accounts using direct sales resources or a few million-dollar deals through a handful of global systems integrators.
But perhaps even more attractive to solution providers is the fact that products such as the Redseal offering are arriving at a time when security is rapidly becoming a feature of every product on the market.
The nature of the security products that solution providers need to master and sell is shifting from comparatively low margin anti-virus and firewall technologies to products that help create and enforce security policies and in turn provide insights into the rest of the IT needs of the customer.
Only then are solution providers looking at that rarest of all products: an offering that not only solves a particular customer problem but also creates an ongoing series of opportunities to drive additional downstream revenue by selling a whole range of additional products and services that would otherwise have been left undiscovered.