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Virtual Tradeshow: SMB Security Partners See Growth In 2010

Stefanie Hoffman
SMB

During Everything Channel's SMBs: Ready For The Rebound virtual trade show Wednesday, a panel of security vendors and solution providers discussed everything from security best practices, to growth opportunities, to the future of cloud-based services in the smaller markets.

During the panel, titled, "Securing the SMB," solution providers said that threats would increase in 2010, warning that new technologies such as cloud-based and Web 2.0 applications would continue to pave the way for larger malware attacks in the SMB space over the next 12 months.

"In the SMB there is no less of a requirement to be secure than an enterprise. They shouldn't have a lesser security posture," said Rick Basile, senior director of technical services at Fortinet.

Solution providers and vendors alike also warned that it would become increasingly important to ensure data is protected as more SMBs rely on remote or traveling workers using mobile devices such as BlackBerries and laptops.

"The security demands are going to become even more stringent. The perimeter has virtually disappeared. It's moving out into the cloud," said Gary Mullen, Kasperksy Lab's senior director of field marketing. "The security holes are opening up in that environment and growing infinitely."

In light of a possible uptick in the economy in 2010, both solution providers and vendors saw a range of growth in SMB markets that would increasingly require security products and services. Among the best places to invest were financial companies, as well as retail, education and the health-care industry, which have all readily adopted security products to comply with regulatory mandates and further protect users, panelists said.

Looking forward, some solution providers on the panel maintained that channel strategies might change slightly to stay competitive in a challenging economy. While one solution provider said he was hoping to consolidate his vendor line card, another said that he preferred to be the "trusted adviser" that could recommend comprehensive solutions as opposed to a single vendor.

"We've taken the approach of having a couple of different vendors in each area and then built the best solution for [the customer]," said Matt Hegarty, infrastructure practice director at New York-based Net@Work.

But solution providers and vendors on the panel agreed that customers would increasingly demand SaaS and cloud solutions in 2010 as they continued to cut costs and slash budgets.

However, solution providers maintained that some of the biggest impediments to widespread adoption of cloud-based services were issues around the security of the data being stored. Consequently, many SMB organizations will still be cautious about adopting cloud-based offerings designed to protect critical data, solution providers said.

"What you're seeing is not that they're jumping right into the cloud. They're trying to figure out whether it makes sense for them," said Shiv Kumar, executive vice president of New Jersey-based ZSL. "We're seeing more of a hybrid situation in the coming year. That creates its own challenges to maintain both the internal and external cloud."

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