Page 1 of 4
Security software supposedly isn't the black art of yesteryear. GUI-driven management consoles, installation wizards and plug-and-play configurations have taken all the sweat out of the lockboxes, right?
"Most of the security products we install cause problems with all the network shares and the printer shares," says Lance Kivell, president of service provider Austin Network Services in Georgetown, Texas. "Out of the box, security blocks all of that stuff, and they're difficult to configure to let those things go through."
According to the VARBusiness State of Technology survey on security, integration and interoperability issues between security products and other parts of the IT infrastructure are major hindrances to solution providers' businesses. More than 57 percent of the survey's respondents cited interoperability issues as their chief obstacle to sales, narrowing out pricing by 5 points. Ranked third, at 44 percent, was lack of standards and poor interoperability.
"Better interoperability and integration would make our lives easier and our clients' lives easier," Kivell says. "That way, our clients wouldn't have to see us standing there for five hours trying to make things work."
Some might say that making disparate pieces of technology work together is the job of a solution provider. Midmarket and enterprise end users who participated in the VARBusiness Market Insight Report last summer rated technical expertise as the top value that solution providers deliver. Implementation time was fifth on the value list.
VARs, however, rely on repeatable processes to create efficiencies in their operations. The lack of standard-compliant security technologies, the numerous variables in configuring security software and hardware, and the associated problems resolving interoperability conflicts with network systems and applications simply slow solution providers down.
"You want a solution that fits everything," says Jerry Thompson, president of Memphis, Tenn.-based business document and bar code printing service company Proforma DMS. "When you're selling the product, it seems it doesn't work the way you proposed it to the customer. That softens your credibility, and you never want that to happen, especially when you're selling security products."
High Demand, High Hindrance
On all fronts, security is hot. In the VARBusiness Market Insight report of midmarket and enterprise IT spending and purchasing drivers, respondents named security and disaster recovery the top priorities for 2007. Regulatory compliance, which often includes heavy doses of security, ranked fourth.
Accordingly, VARs are reporting strong demand for security solutions. Increasing threats top the list of security sales drivers (73 percent), followed by loss prevention (61 percent), expanding customers' infrastructures (49 percent), regulatory compliance (44 percent) and industry requirements (37 percent).
The demand for security is pushing sales of top security technologies even higher. Solution providers report solid demand for firewalls, wireless security, data recovery, VPNs, network- and host-based antivirus, e-mail and VoIP security, application security and encryption.
Now's not the time to be slowed down or be incompetent in delivering security solutions. Naturally, solution providers generally seek the best technologies in terms of quality and reliability. High on their list of desired product attributes, though, are capability and ease of integration, and ease and speed of deployment.
"It isn't easy picking security products, because it seems like there are so many different pieces to the puzzle and there are no standards," says Sheldon Penner, owner of Amicus Data in Gladstone, Ore. "I have to do all this research, and most customers won't pay for me to find that information."
NEXT: Dealing with "some idiot" for tech support
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Next >>