Masergy To Partners: ‘Always Lead With Security’

‘Once you build trust on the security side, it just creates a lot of other opportunities as long as you‘re able to provide that same level of acumen in other solution categories. It becomes a win for both sides,’ a Masergy partner tells CRN.

Securing the remote working environment is one of the most pressing tech issues on a company’s plate. It’s also the most significant revenue opportunity for channel partners, according to Masergy Communications.

Security is one of the most important factors that IT decision makers consider when making technology purchases right now, so the time has never been better for partners to be security advisors, said Trevor Parks, director of security solutions and services for Masergy.

Many solution providers are heeding the call. The number of Masergy partners selling security has increased by 10 percent in the last 6 months, Masergy told CRN.

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“Just at the base level, [security] is a business problem,” Parks said. “It‘s a large opportunity to really make some money in this particular department for partners.”

Still, room exists for more solution providers to get out on the security front lines, Parks said.

[Related: Comcast Business To Acquire Masergy In SD-WAN Blockbuster]

“The attack surface just got so much bigger because you’ve now got 50 percent of employees working from their house. IT organizations are having to scramble retroactively to try and make sure that they’ve got a secure environment from which their people can work,” said Keith Hatley, partner of Cloud Communications Group (CCG), a Dallas-based solution provider and Masergy partner.

Security has always been a big part of CCG’s portfolio because of the “tremendous” market opportunity that existed before the COVID-19 pandemic. That opportunity has increased significantly, Hatley said.

CCG is bundling security with other IT solutions, such as SD-WAN. That’s because security is a big piece of all the firm’s conversations with customers, Hatley said. “Once you build trust on the security side, it just creates a lot of other opportunities as long as you’re able to provide that same level of acumen in other solution categories. It becomes a win for both sides.”

Partners selling SD-WAN solutions have a leg up because that market is evolving into SASE-focused solutions as security is being layered in naturally, Parks said.

One partner working with Masergy on a SD-WAN sale for a client started to explore security solutions, and with the help of Masergy, implemented an Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solution in addition to SD-WAN for the client. On day one of the deployment, the EDR solution identified a ransomware attack. The company had been recently compromised and Masergy and its partner were able to stop the attack in its tracks before it could become a larger issue, Parks said.

Masergy is helping solution providers build trust as security advisors by always leading with security, while cross-selling security with other IT offerings, Parks said. “They don’t have to be security experts, they just have to ask the basic questions, identify some gaps, and then bring in the [Masergy] for a deeper dive to help actually solve these problems with them,” he said.

As an example, questions that partners can start with to help open up their customers to a security conversation are: “How do you know you’re not compromised right now?” or “Who is monitoring your security alarms at 3 a.m. on weekends?” Parks said. These kinds of questions will help partners uncover where security gaps may exist, he added.

Masergy offers different levels of training, ranging from partners that are just getting started with security solution selling and uncovering opportunities, to trainings for more seasoned security advisors, which typically involves working with Masergy’s security specialists, Parks said.

“Ask questions of your existing clients,” Parks advised partners. “You should be leading all the time with security. These questions will help partners bring customers more successful solutions, so it’s a symbiotic relationship.”