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Mobile device security can offer the channel lucrative opportunities to sell into the enterprise if partners play their cards right. The following six tips offer ways to strengthen the sales pitch and maximize earnings on mobile security and management projects

One-Stop Shopping

With so many different point products that cover controls such as encryption at rest, encryption of e-mail in transit, malware detection, and password management, many organizations—particularly smaller ones—can be quickly overwhelmed by the options necessary to mitigate the risks that matter to their organization.VARs are most likely to succeed in their sales efforts if they do the homework for the client. It may seem like it goes without saying, but presenting a single solution strategy that blends multiple products and services without confusing the customer with too many choices greatly enhances ones chances for closing a deal.

Unification of Endpoint Security

Similarly, VARs should look for ways to make their solution set integrate right into the customer’s existing overall security infrastructure. After all, one of the major drivers for smartphone security is that organizations are seeking the same level of control for these devices as for the rest of their endpoints. If they can’t manage these mobile devices similar to the way they do the other endpoints, then the solution offers diminished utility.

“What we see more and more is that there’s no single vendor that offers a complete solution that encompasses all of the different endpoints that exist today in an enterprise, from servers to PCs to laptops to cell phones,” says Ran Ish-Shalom, vice president of business development for Onset Technology, a mobile communications security vendor. “What we’ve started to see the market expect is that VARs act as integrators to make sure that solutions from various vendors can actually work together and provide a unified approach towards the different endpoints.”

Understanding of the Mobile Environment

As solution providers look to pitch mobile security strategies to customers, they must remember that the mobile environment is rarely ever standardized. Even at organizations that issue smartphones to workers, IT will inevitably come across the early adopters and tech savvy users that just had to have that iPhone or Google Android device and who insist on using them on the network.

“Channel partners should be aware of the breadth of devices and platforms that exist out there,” says Joerg Schneider-Fimon, product marketing manager for Trend Micro. “It’s not a monoculture.”

Policy Development Expertise

Resellers who want to move beyond pushing product to truly add value would do well to offer their security expertise during deployment by packaging policy development into the mobile security solution.

“I think there’s a lot of possibilities for the channel partner to add value,” says says Tom Zorn,

executive vice
president of Englewood, Colo.-based Arrow ECS, a value-added distributor
. “Writing policy is one that presents itself from the very get-go. Because if there is no policy, there is no defense.”

As Zorn puts it, many client companies lack the expertise or the resources to come up with a good mobile security policy to protect against. VARs are in a good position, as they have far more experience in performing the necessary risk assessments and business evaluations critical to create a suitable policy that meets an organization’s risk appetite and tolerance of security interruptions.

Offering Visibility and Control

Concerns over data breaches and leaks caused by smartphones are what will sell your smartphone solutions into today’s enterprise. As such, your package of tools and services need to include tools and technologies that extend IT’s visibility and control over these devices.

This means providing the ability to remote wipe and lock devices when they’re lost, the capability to turn on encryption over files stored on the device and on sensitive e-mail sent from the device, as well offering ways to turn off vulnerable functions such as Bluetooth. Additionally, enterprises will best be sold by solutions that include policy enforcement of important protections such as password management. Finally, solutions that also include the means to track activity for auditing and compliance purposes will generally lend a VAR more credibility when offering up a pitch.

Business Enablement Capability

The ultimate goal of any security project—be it for mobile devices or otherwise—is to offer a client organization the opportunity to leverage important technology with as little risk to the business as possible.

Currently many businesses are being held up in their efforts to use smartphones due to the associated risk. For example, in a recent Harris Interactive study sponsored by Cloudmark, security worries stopped 46 percent of those polled from taking advantage of some option on their mobile device.

Savvy VARs should be able to find a way to make the sale based on a business-enablement platform. For example, if customers aren’t currently allowing their salespeople to access documents on their phones due to the security concerns, then the key driver for a mobile security initiative could be in giving them the means to access collateral on the road without risking exposure of sensitive data.