The Rise of Managed Security ServicesBy Michael Vizard | Print
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As the overall economic environment continues to deteriorate, IT organizations are becoming more amenable to buying managed security services. That could spell an opportunity for the IT managed services provider. Currently the IT managed services market is split among traditional solution providers, telecommunications carriers and vendors selling dedicated software-as-a-service offerings.
That seems to be the case with managed security services. As the overall economic environment continues to deteriorate, IT organizations appear to be becoming more amenable to buying managed security services as opposed to trying to find and hire their own dedicated security professionals.
International Data Corp. estimates that the managed security services market grew about 19.6 percent to reach a total size of about $1.3 billion in 2007. More interestingly, IDC expects the category to grow $2.8 billion by 2012, which represents a compound annual growth rate of 17.2 percent.
As great as that may sound to the average solution provider, there are a couple of things that solution providers might want to consider before they precede whole hog into developing a managed security service.
The first item is the managed services market is split among traditional solution providers, telecommunications carriers and vendors selling dedicated software-as-a-service offerings. As the complexity of security increases and the cost of hiring security expertise rises, there is no doubt that IT customers will look to services to help mitigate their risks. The question that solutions providers need to ask themselves is can they effectively compete with telecommunications carriers and the vendors themselves to get that business. Already, we’re seeing the beginnings of a trend where security services are being delivered as an element of an overall cloud computing strategy where all the security equipment resides on the premise of the solution provider rather than the customer, as opposed to a traditional managed service model where the equipment resides on the customer’s premise and is remotely managed by the solution provider.
Given that trend, the average solution provider may need to decide if it wants to invest in building out that infrastructure or if the better part of valor is to simply resell someone else’s security services under their own name.
For example, Secure Designs, a provider of managed security services, is betting that this will be the case with a large percentage of the channel. The company recently launched its own channel program under which solution providers can resell Secure Design services under their own brand names. Secure Design’s major vendor partner for these services is SonicWall, which has previously established a channel model under which it shares recurring revenue with solution providers that resell managed services using SonicWall security products.
Whether it’s worth building your own managed service or reselling someone else’s all depends on the level of in-house security expertise you have on hand today and how much of that expertise they can retain tomorrow.
Clearly, demand for managed security services is not going to fall any time soon. But the methods by which managed services are delivered are evolving rapidly. And that may prove to be the biggest factor of all when it comes to laying out a business plan around managed security services.