RSA SecurWorld: Focus On Services, Integration


During RSA's SecurWorld 2008 partner conference, executives filled partners in on plans to further distinguish itself with opportunities to wrap an array of services around new integrated solution sets that the company will continue develop in 2009.

No doubt, however, RSA is up against some major challenges as the economy continues to suffer, stocks continue to drop and companies are more cautious about their IT dollars.

"We're in a very tough position with security these days. It's largely viewed as expensive, ineffective and hard to prove," said Art Coviello, president of RSA, the security division of EMC, to an audience of about 100 partners during his keynote speech.

The Bedford, Mass.-based company has seen numerous successes with information-centric solutions in its core competencies of identity authentication and access management, which has put it in a position to combat some of the current economic challenges, executives say. Despite a lagging economy, growth has slowed but remains in the double digits at about 15 percent, Coviello said. RSA is now protecting 200 million customer accounts online and has shut down more than 100,000 phishing sites, he maintained.

Sponsored post

However, Coviello said that the company will increasingly differentiate itself by leveraging technologies from recent Tablus and enVision acquisitions in new solutions. Those comprehensive products will be designed to further integrate data loss prevention and event management solutions with its existing authentication and identity technologies.

"We're starting to do it now," said Coviello. "With best-of-breed products, we're uniting these products and technologies so we're selling best-of-breed suites and best-of-breed solutions."

Executives also said that they planned to give partners the tools to expand services offerings—a component executives said was "flat out broken." Currently, services comprise only about 6 percent of revenue.

"That has to grow," said Tom Heiser, senior vice president of worldwide sales, marketing and professional services. "We have to take the first step."

But that will likely change with RSA's renewed focus on services, executives said. With its new DLP suite and PCI offerings, unveiled Tuesday, executives said that partners will have opportunities to leverage their expertise to add consulting practices to their portfolio, potentially incorporating compliance pre-audits, risk assessments and data classification.

"We want to grow services but not take it away from the partner community," said Bill Taylor, senior director of global channels and alliances. "We're going to get to the front end of this, the assessment piece, that allows you to get to the back end and implementation. They'll be plenty of services for everybody."

During his keynote, Taylor said that RSA also would further enable partners by providing ramped-up sales technical services training. In addition, the company plans to offer a pod center for training podcast downloads, as well as more security alerts, town hall meetings and general Webcasts.

In light of the rejuvenated channel focus and integrated technologies, Coviello said that he hoped to grow RSA into a billion-dollar enterprise. "We believe the market opportunity is that big, that's what we're trying to drive over the next couple of years," he said.

But it will take some work, executives say.

For one, executives said the company has to focus on ease of doing business and enabling channel partners to be able to grow their business. RSA currently does about 80 percent of its business through the channel. And while they did not say that figure would grow, they said they planned to make even more channel investments and build the businesses of existing partners.

"The people are outstanding, the partner community is great, but we have to make ourselves a lot easier to do business with," said Heiser. "We have to build the business to grow. We have to show that it has massive growth potential. We cannot do this without our partners."