The past four years have seen a historic spike in cyber crime across all corners of the world and Australia, with 2021 being one of the worst on record.
As a result, customers have been scrambling to ramp up their capabilities across identity management, zero trust, managed and cloud security services,
Amid these turbulent times, local distributor Nextgen has responded to the criminal onslaught by launching and ramping up its cyber security practice.
Now, three years since its established its cyber security unit, a methodical approach to locating the right vendor partners has become the distributor's main modus operandi.
Its portfolio now includes the likes of Netskope, Illumio, Crowdstrike, Secureworks and ExtraHop which, explained Nextgen's head of cyber Gabe Marzano, are designed to be the "best of breed in emerging technology areas”.
“Nextgen Cyber is actually growing to have a very comprehensive and robust profile of vendors that stitches together our own security fabric within the A/NZ channel,” she told ARN.
Marzano herself was appointed to lead the newly created cyber security division in September, having previously acted as the distributor's cyber security business manager.
Speaking to ARN, Marzano said Nextgen’s cyber business growth has been “quite exponential” over the last three years and expects it to continue into the future. However, she has not put any strict goal on the distributor’s future partner growth aspirations.
“We don't have targets or a number of vendors per se, but it's more around best fit, the strength in the portfolio and value to the market as well,” Marzano said.
“We've got at least three open headcount in cyber security at the moment and it will continue to grow as our business continues to grow, too.”
Earlier this year, the distributor launched its collaborative cyber security platform CyberLAB, with the aim of helping channel partners demonstrate and provide ‘proof of concept’ (POC) in a single customer engagement across its cyber security vendor portfolio and additional vendors on request.
Currently, the cyber practice is focused on its recent relationship with Illumio —between itself and the networking segment vendor, as well as between Illumio and other partners.
“What's next for me is building more brand awareness around Illumio in this market and helping Illumio gain a lot of traction with channel partners and customers around things like zero trust and ransomware containment,” Marzano said.
“It's credible technology and I think it's a very exciting new brand and technology in the market that's really only just getting started. That's from my perspective.
“But of course, what comes with that, most importantly, is around partnering with great channel partners and enabling them to tell the Illumio story and build their skill sets around Illumio,” she added.
While the rise of COVID-19 however has exacerbated the need for security in the IT landscape, keeping a focus on maintaining cyber security has been a timeless strategy, Marzano said.
“Security issues have been around for longer than just the last 18 months,” she added. “There's a lot of macro forces that have a lot of influence on our industry and I think the need to protect IP, data and everything that comes with an organisation has always been prevalent years and years and years back.”