A Managed Security Solution for the SMB SetBy Scott Ferguson | Posted 2006-10-27 Email Print
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One Arizona security company believes its offering for a managed security program will appeal to VARs and their SMB customers.
Douglas Cottle knows something about security.
For years, Cottle worked as an engineer for McAfee before starting his own venture, Secure Resolutions, based in Mesa, Ariz.
The idea was to create a small company that would provide anti-malware, anti-spam, anti-virus, patching and other security solutions.
Cottle started the company in 2000 and currently employees 25 people. (He declined to discuss his company's specific financial information.)
Being a small company, Cottle had an idea of how to make his solutions appealing to other SMBs (small and midsize businesses). Cottle decided to offer his solution through channel partners and Secure Resolution developed its own managed security program for these VARs.
"When we first started selling our line we went to direct companies so that we could get some name recognition, but the real marketplace for managed services is in the channel where the VARs are the trusted advisor and can manage the systems of the individual customers," Cottle said to Channel Insider.
Cottle added that: "Clients tend to use what they are told works best for their environment and want to have someone to rely on for security issues."
Cottle's company will manage the hardware and software, which could then be downloaded to the customer's PCs. The solution can update more than 60 different applications and can deliver updates directly to the user's computers through the Internet.
For their part, VARs can either sell Secure Resolution's products as a complete turnkey solution, leaving the monitoring to a company's IT staff, or they can offer the product as part of a solution that includes an array of managed services for their clients, such as monitoring and consulting services.
The VARs essentially acts as an SMB's IT department. The VAR or solution provider can remotely monitor the company's network, offer reports to company officials as needed and customize the software to fit the business' needed for problems while Secure Resolutions offers patches and other consulting services.
The VAR or solution provider can remotely monitor the network, offer reports to company officials as needed, customize the software to fit the business' needed and offer other consulting services.
Stuart Selbst, a solution provider in Phoenix, has been working with Cottle's company for about four months. Selbst's company, Just Technical Solutions, focuses on SMBs with little or no money for an IT department.
When offering a solution to a customer, Selbst said the managed security model that Secure Resolutions provides fits with his approach to remote monitoring of the company's entire network.
"I'm a one-man operation and it actually works out best for me to manage everything from one location, whether its from my office or any other place that I can get an Internet connection," Selbst told Channel Insider.
"I'm better off and I'm serving my client better," Selbst added.
Charles Lewis, the president of Advance Ortho Systems in Palmdale, Calif., has used the Secure Resolutions in much the same way as Selbt's company.
Since Lewis deals almost exclusively with dentists, he needed to provide a security solution that would have no onsite IT person to monitor the network.
Many analysts believe that SMBs will continue to spend more and more of their budgets on security. Cottle believes that his solution is better than other ones offered by big players like McAfee, which only monitor the Internet for virus and malware problems, and not a company's network.
Tiffani Bova, the research director for Gartner's IT Channel Sales division, said that other companies have also turned to managed security programs since it's one subject that both customers and the channel have found critical to operating their businesses.
The idea has begun to catch on as a way to offer both managed services to clients and solid return on investment for VARs.
Cottle's company received good reviews at Gartner's the Channel Vision conference in Phoenix this fall and he is scheduled to talk about his managed services model at the CompTIA SMB Summit in Tucson, Ariz. on Oct. 31.
In addition to all the training and resources for VARs, Cottle said that his company built a financial management tool, which allows resellers and service providers to manage their own accounts and money on either a monthly or annual subscription basis.
Cottle has also offered handsome margins to VARs who use his products and solutions. He said that VARs can earn up to 30 to 40 points. If they just offer the security solutions as a managed service, they could earn up to 50 points.
"What we have done is lower the cost of entry into the industry," Cottle said in an interview with Channel Insider. "We have bought all of the hardware and all of the servers. Our VARs only have to buy the software, not the server."