Avnet Expands VAR Training Programs With Focus On Security

Avnet unveiled the course at the 2009 RSA Conference in San Francisco. It's the fourth in a series of similar Avnet SolutionsPath programs, following courses tailored to health care, government and virtualization.

In an interview with Channelweb.com, Avnet executives cited research from International Data Corp. (IDC) that puts the overall IT security spend at $82 billion by 2012.

"When looking at the numbers that come out of IDC, you're looking at a 14 percent annual growth rate year-over-year," said Martin Koren, a former security sales director at solution provider Mainline Information Systems, who became director of Avnet's Security Solutions Practice in January. "The challenge is how do we go out and refine the market for our resellers, and help them get their piece of the security marketplace?"

According to Avnet, SecurePath caters to everyone from veteran security VARs to those just moving into a security practice from, say, a networking background.

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The program is a three-day course that includes updates on market trends and technologies available, sales skills development and access to Avnet OneTech Services, which through services such as penetration testing, Web application scanning and payment card industry (PCI) compliance allow VARs to fine-tune their knowledge of different security areas.

"A lot of the traditional markets are in decline, and VARs need to get their skills to a different level," said Tony Vottima, vice president of solutions marketing and development at Avnet. "Our goal is to try to get them there faster, and with less money -- to help them understand the technology and the business customer the way they are today."

Vottima said Avnet chose security and vulnerability management, Web and messaging security, network and end-point security and other hot areas as focuses for the program based on how IDC and other research firms viewed the areas of highest spend in the overall market.

Koren and Vottima said Avnet's ultimate goal is to steer VARs toward complete data center solutions, "taking them a little bit at a time," Vottima stressed.

"I think that's the end game," Koren added. "Some of these markets in the next-generation data center are still maturing. Unified communications is a market that's maturing, for example. Resellers need to continue to expand their portfolio. It's not necessarily about new products as [much as] facing new customers every day and wanting to be a position where they can help them in different areas."