IT resellers and solutions providers need to understand that data security is becoming a business issue and not a technology issue, three key players in the industry have affirmed.
Last week a round-table discussion with journalists was hosted by a number of managing directors, including LAN Systems' Nick Verykios, Trend Micro Australia's Chris Poulos and 3Com Australia's Mike Clarke.
Many issues were addressed during the discussion, such as the failure of existing data security systems, the rising importance of data security within small and large businesses and the emergence of new channels as solutions providers.
The three MDs agreed that the traditional IT channel was critical of selling data security wares, that a far more holistic approach was required and that traditional security companies were eyeing the opportunities.
LAN Systems' Verykios said that while he is a distributor for both the vendors present, being a distributor is "not an accurate description" of how LAN Systems operates in the security space.
"Yes, we do represent vendors who make great technology but, now more than ever, our chief role in the channel is to take that technology and turn it into business benefits."
A more holistic approach to data security is required, Verykios said. Resellers need to tap into the fact that it is increasingly being viewed by enterprises as a component of general security practices. He is already seeing the larger value-added resellers "developing relationships" with mainstream security providers such as Boral, Chubb and Wormald.
"The IT industry is just starting to understand that we are a small part of the overall solution," Verykios said. "The technology is phenomenal. The problem is how a solution is put together."
Data security is "the last mile" in the whole security solution, Verykios said. He feels the opportunity and responsibility for the integration of data security lies with "whoever owns the customer". Channels other than traditional resellers are espying the opportunities in data security solutions, he said.
"We are already talking to other types of customer-interfacing organisations and we have been advising insurance companies on cyber crime insurance.
Poulos conceded that despite shifting control of virus protection from individual users into the hands of administrators, solutions were "still not good enough" and "organisations were still getting hit". Therefore, Trend Micro has rethought the whole process, he said.
"Ninety-six per cent of enterprises have engaged antivirus, yet they are still getting slammed," he said. "To date, we have not protected them effectively."
Poulos said Trend Micro is now looking beyond just having rapid response times with patents on new viruses that emerge "in the wild". Using a fire protection parallel, he said that after much research, the company has developed a "sprinkler system-type" technology that attacks the virus as soon as "smoke" is detected.
This minimises damage to critical data until the vendor's patent is delivered or "until the fire brigade" gets to the scene, Poulos analogised.
3Com's Clarke said the networking hardware organisation has also taken a new angle on security by revisiting the role of the firewall.
"While antivirus has traditionally been from the desktop out, security has been managed from the firewall in," he said. "Most organisations are now pretty secure at the edges of their networks but not at the desktop, so we now have some devices for that.
"We have a network card that has embedded firewall protection at the desktop level and we have a very good, well-trained channel around this technology."