For a security company to win 2008 Specialist Vendor of the Year indicates the importance the field has in the overall IT infrastructure and market at the moment, according to RSA Security’s regional channel manger, Gavin Jarvis.
With virtualisation gaining so much attention last year, VMware took out the specialist category. But as customers and the industry show increasing awareness of the business need for security solutions that enable financial outcomes, it was security that stood centre stage this year.
“Obviously, we are very proud and pleased to win the award,” Jarvis said. “It does recognise the place that security has within the IT market. To a degree, it gives you the view that security is still not part of the mainstream – we are still segmented as a specialist function. But that is not a bad thing. There is a lot of drive within IT security to get more visibility within the business community to show them we are here to help you, we are one of the tools. We are not this thing on the side that nobody hears from.”
While winning is always a pleasing result, the achievement was also a vindication of RSA’s approach to the channel, Jarvis said.
“We have a strong channel and we utilise our channel as much as we can,” he explained. “Our path to market is through the channel and to win an award like this reinforces that it is the right way to go and do business. When you build a channel program you are never quite sure how it is going to be taken. To then receive an award from the channel that says, yes you are the Specialist Vendor of the Year, also vindicates the work we have been doing in the channel. It gives us the confidence and motivation to go through this refresh process and reinvigorate the channel and take it to the next step.”
Although RSA did not make any changes to its partner program during 2008, it is looking to make adjustments in 2009 and has implemented a review, which is currently being conducted from head office in Bedford, US. As part of the refresh, Jarvis acknowledged a focus on expanding the vendor’s presence in non-traditional playing fields.
“We have these new products – some of them have existed within RSA and they have been not been well-known,” he said. “Through RSA being acquired by EMC and the direction to grow that business, there have been other acquisitions that have brought other products into the RSA suite people are not very familiar with. We are now looking at how we enable our channel to take those products to market. This includes what we need to do in the form of training the channel, what support they need from us and what commitments we expect from them.”
In particular, Jarvis highlighted information risk management as an important conversation RSA is driving.