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Value-added distributor Bell Micro has devoted an entirely new North
American division to helping solution providers hone their security skills and
fill a growing customer need for comprehensive solutions.

Duncan Hume, who headed up Bell
Microproducts’ U.K.
security division and who will serve as director for the North American
security division, says the new division was built on the foundation of Bell
Micro’s overseas security success.

"We’ve been selling the
burgers and not the fries, so to speak," Hume says. "In other words,
we’ve been selling storage but not the ability to ensure that stored data is
secure, remains confidential and maintains its integrity."

Hume says his intention is to
build a selective portfolio of security solutions and introduce those as
complementary and supplementary offerings to Bell Micro’s community of storage
solution providers.

The "complementary"
approach is key to a successful security practice that can drive upselling
opportunities and incremental revenue for solution providers, Hume says.
Threats and attacks are bombarding organizations from all angles, but many
solution providers make the mistake of favoring a "Band-Aid" approach
rather than taking a more holistic view of customers’ infrastructure security
needs.

"Security encompasses a
huge amount of subject matter—it’s controlling access to the Internet using SSL
[Secure Sockets Layer] VPNs and firewalls. It’s e-mail security and encryption.
It’s two-factor authentication. There’s the basics of data theft, data loss
prevention; not to mention anti-virus [and] anti-spam," Hume says.

Hume says e-mail content
security is currently one of the greatest threats to infrastructure, but
solution providers should take care not to focus too much on one threat area to
the exclusion of others that are equally important. However, identifying
customers’ security weaknesses can lead to business opportunities for savvy
solution providers.

"There are some [end-user]
organizations providing a very strong content filtering solution, for example,
but are they also providing a good remote access solution or performing user
authentication correctly? Are they doing a good enough job preventing spam from
entering the network?" Hume says.

The holistic approach to
security is becoming evident even in the vendor community, as mergers between
security and storage heavyweights like EMC
and RSA, Veritas and Symantec pool their
security and storage expertise, says Hume.

Even if solution providers have
limited security experience, they can leverage their experience selling
products and services that require security solutions to protect them, like
storage or networking.

And while the economy might put
a damper on IT spending, Hume says he doesn’t think it’ll last long or greatly
affect security.

"There’s a danger that the economy will impact
the security space negatively, but the bigger danger is for organizations who
don’t put security infrastructure in place in the first place," he says.