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VARs are optimistic that security solutions will continue to be a big part of solution providers' businesses in 2010, according to Everything Channel's 2009 Annual Report Card Survey.
More VARs expect their sales in network security appliances (81.3 percent of respondents) and client security software (81.1 percent) to increase in 2010 than in the 16 other product categories, according to the study.
Solution providers were asked to rate their business expectations (increase, stay the same or decrease,) and more than half of the respondents expect their business to increase in 17 of the 18 categories. More than 25 percent of VARs expect sales to stay the same in nine of the 18 categories. Almost one-third of the respondents expect their notebook sales to decrease in 2010, the only category in which a significant portion of VARs expect business to drop.
All told, it's shaping up to be another good year to be a security VAR, said solution providers. Network security appliances are drawing high expectations because more people are opening up their businesses to Internet access in different ways, said Audrey Levi, president and owner of Altek Computer Group, a Miami-based solution provider.
"More people are opening themselves to some sort of remote access. As that occurs, people have to put in firewalls and network security," Levi said.
End users have a better understanding of the risks of a security breakdown than they did just a couple of years ago and are willing to take more proactive steps to avoid risk, said Bruce Freshwater, CEO of Sierra w/o Wires, a Pittsburgh-based solution provider.
"One virus on one PC can do a lot of [harm]. They'll spend $3,000 on a small network appliance to eliminate spinning their wheels for 30 hours. It's a win-win for everybody," Freshwater said.
Network security appliances are also a key piece to some compliance solutions, said Edward Laprade, president and CEO of Adnet Technologies, a Windsor, Conn.-based solution provider. Adnet has many clients in Massachusetts, where a data privacy law will go into effect March 2010.
"There are a lot of compliance areas that affect most companies. They need to tighten down their security, data encryption," he said.
As far as client security applications, end users are also more willing to opt for more complex solutions because they understand the risks, Freshwater said. "Instead of the old mentality of just needing antivirus, now they know they need malware and phishing software too," he said.
Meanwhile, VARs might be expecting to increase business in enterprise networking hardware because innovations in that area can help customers save money, Levi said.