In Australia, there is big business in hacking small businesses, meaning channel partners have the opportunity to capitalise in the security market, by morphing risk into reward, according to a panel at Sophos' partner conference.
“Ransomware is sexy. It’s what our customers want to talk about the most,” Commulynx sales manager, Anita Sheridan-Roddick, said. “It’s where all of our marketing is focused on right now, and it is getting us in the door. The boardroom is getting buy-in.”
In Australia, hackers are profiting the most from ransomware attacks targeting SMBs and the mid-market. According to recent research from Sophos Labs, ransomware, in particular, accounts for 31 per cent of all attacks within the nation.
“There is a real need for integrated security solutions and 63 per cent of Australian companies are looking to deploy security solutions in the next six months,” Sophos channel director A/NZ, Jon Fox, said.
According to partners, the lack of time, resources and security skill sets of Australians owning or running SMBs, is creating opportunities for partners in consultancy, implementation and ongoing managed security services.
“Security is a challenge for 46 per cent of my customers,” Computer Merchants founder, Darryl Tucker, said.
“We are finding that customers are being told to do more, with less. For example, a customer’s budget has been decreased within the business, but they are being told to do more with security,” he explained.
Since opening the doors to his managed services business 35 years ago, Tucker said he recently invested in opening a security practice, due to customer demand in response to rising threats within the market.
“They have essentially been saying, help us out. They can’t do it themselves and they’re reducing their infrastructure.”
For Aryon managing director, Dean Bartlett, his experience playing in the security space has been similar.
“Our customers have less staff, less time, and lower budgets. In the mid-market, they do have IT staff, however the IT staff know that they need security and they don’t have the specialised skills or the competency. So they’re more than willing to hand it over to us,” he said.
In line with Barlett, Roddick explained how the security conversation is becoming easier, leading to more business with new and existing customers.
“Commulynx likes to sit in the mid-market. I feel the customers sitting there need our expertise. What we are finding there is that we take more of a consultancy role where we are able to advise on their entire security posture. From consultancy, start with implementation services and then move into everyone’s favourite - managed services.”
She added that security is often the way into a new customer’s business.
“The more services I can manage for a client, the better annuity, ongoing revenue and the upsell and cross-sell, because once we are in there, we become the trusted advisors,” she explained.
Similarly, for Bartlett, he said the security conversation is a key opportunity to connect with line of business executives, where more often than not, IT is not a key priority.
“Often, it’s the one opportunity you can get with executives to get inside their door. Whether your customers are IT managers or business owners, most executives, particularly in the mid-market, really want to sweep IT under the rug. It’s not the most important thing on their agenda.
“However, the impact of ransomware poses a huge business risk for them, so they will have the conversation. The net result of that conversation is an elevation of your standing with them and it opens the door to wider opportunities from a professional services, consultancy, implementation and ongoing services perspective.”
For Data#3 head of security practice, Richard Dornhart, Sophos is the fitting solution when the systems integrator deals with clients in the SMB space.
“The biggest challenge organisations have is resourcing so the ability to bring a single vendor in that has all the capability spanning endpoint, UTM (inified threat management) and visibility, is key.”
Dornhart said that as customers are becoming more informed about security and the risks of cyber-attacks, Data#3’s value-add lies in its offering of an alternative perspective.
“We offer commercial insights. It’s important to understand the business objective. That is, what is the business problem you are trying to solve. For example, we sometimes talking about how a solution might help them increase profitability or operations.”