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Tech Data Sees Growth In Cloud-Based Security

Tech Data has partnered with Akamai, which previously catered to enterprise telecom companies, to bring cloud-based security solutions to managed service providers.

Tech Data is teaming up with Akamai to bring cloud-based security products to its partners, increasing the number of recurring revenue options available in this growth area for the managed services market, said Alex Ryals vice president, Security Solutions, North America for Tech Data

“We are certainly not getting away from the traditional firewalls and traditional endpoint security,” Ryals told CRN. “We're very strong in those areas, but we’re certainly investing more in what we see as a growth area in cloud-based security solutions.”

Alan Dorrian, VP of sales at Chicago-based solution provider Impelix, a boutique cybersecurity firm, said it is a growth area for his company as well.

Dorrian said one of the obstacles the company sees to digital transformation among their customers is convincing those customers of the need for cloud security solutions to protect their cloud network.

“Customers have a digital transformation thought process. Sometimes that is led by application … or it could be led by someone saying ‘Cloud by 2020,’ “ he said. “When they do that, they usually don’t have a sophisticated plan and one of the last people to the table is security.”

Dorrian said what the offerings from Akamai does is to give solution providers a seat at the table during the security discussion when a customer transitions to the cloud. Dorrian said for solution providers, security is no longer a “castle with a moat around it” as cloud and new ways of delivering content to mobile end points have changed that discussion.

“A lot of times the customer doesn’t know the technology that is out there,” he said. “So we really bring them some thought leadership around the security discussion… Akamai gets it. We think it’s going to be them and some other key players are going to be critical in cloud security.”

Ryals said over the last six months, Tech Data has been investing heavily in more cloud security based providers. He said the firm signed Herndon, Va.-based OPAQ Networks a few months ago, Waltham, Mass.-based Carbon Black in August and now they are the first distributor to ink an agreement with Akamai. Ryals said the company had placed its sales focus on large telecommunications companies, such as Verizon and AT&T. He said as they sought to expand into the managed service provider market, they sought out Tech Data.

“The great benefit for the channel is that this is subscription-based pricing,” Ryals said. “I've noticed that trend, in my partners for sure, that they are looking for ways to transition, not away from perpetual licenses, but definitely to add more subscription licenses to their portfolio because that recurring revenue is a benefit to partners and to customers. Customers have predictability in what they buy and how they spend their money, and partners have predictability in the margins that they make each month.”

The benefit for end users is that enterprise-grade software and capabilities are now available for mid-market consumption, Ryals said.

There are three channel-specific offerings that Tech Data has made available; Web application firewall protection, accelerated performance of web and mobile applications, and enterprise traffic protection and remote application access.

On the last, Ryals said Akamai can analyze all of a customer’s web traffic looking for bad packets and people trying to hit a company with a distributed denial of service attack.

“Akamai offers a great DDoS mitigation services where they can analyze the traffic for the websites they’re protecting and if they detect that someone is attacking them with a DDoS attack they can redirect all that DDoS traffic into a black hole, so that real customers can get to the website unimpeded,” Ryals said.

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