RSA Security Aiming To Broaden Its Reach In The Channel In 2006

The Anti-phishing Working Group, a watchdog organization that monitors phishing attacks, received reports of almost 16,000 phishing attempts in the month of October alone, with the financial services industry being targeted 87 percent of the time. And with the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) regulations that will require banks and financial institutions to have some form of two-factor authentication in place for online transactions by the end of this year, the market opportunities for companies such as RSA and its channel partners are potentially huge.

“Many of our channel partners are strong in the financial verticals, but there&'s other technology that Cyota offers as well that we will bring immediately to the full channel,” said Art Coviello, CEO of Bedford, Mass.-based RSA. “Their antiphishing and antipharming, what they call fraud action capability that started with banks but can extend into the broader enterprise. It will be a service offering that our channel will be able to resell, along with our other products and services. We will bring that to the channel very early in 2006,” Coviello said.

By no coincidence, only 15 days after RSA disclosed its plans to acquire the New York-based company, a deal between Washington Mutual and Cyota was announced to provide the retail bank with multifactor authentication solutions to strengthen its online banking security. Channel partners are expecting similar opportunities in the financial services industry, especially because of the FFIEC regulations, said Kurtis Kreh, vice president of sales with RSA VAR iSmart Connect, Irvine, Calif.

“I absolutely anticipate an influx of opportunity based around the FFEIC regulation for consumer-based authentication,” Kreh said.

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Financial institutions have been hit the hardest with online fraud, forcing them to be early adopters of multifactor authentication solutions, said Andy Greenawalt, founder and CTO of security solution provider Perimeter Internetworking.

“The FFIEC regulations are driving a lot of awareness. We see financial services two to four years ahead of the broader markets,” Greenawalt said. But RSA isn&'t just banking on market opportunities in financial services. The need for secure remote access in the broader enterprise holds a lot of potential for the channel, Coviello said.

“In the enterprise for strong authentication for remote access, there&'s probably 85 million people worldwide that log on remotely to a network every day. Only 22 million have some form of strong authentication. And largely because of our channel, we have expanded our customer base from 2002 to present from 8,000 to 20,000 customers. But we think there&'s another 60,000 customers that we haven&'t reached yet, which to me sounds like a heck of an opportunity to grow this market,” Coviello said.

“Add to that the consumer, authentication and identity and access management inside the firewall, and this is going to be a great channel market for years to come.”