HP Making Security Push Heading Into Discover Event

Hewlett Packard executives are emphasizing data security headed into the company's annual Discover user conference next week, pushing managed service providers to drive more sales into small and midsize businesses.

Executives leading HP's channel activities say they are reaching out to 20-50 MSPs globally to fuel growth in the company's Fortify On Demand, ArcSight and TippingPoint lines, all part of the company's Enterprise Security Products business unit. The company balances a hybrid sales approach, under a go-to-market strategy that drives security deals of $100,000 or less delivered through the channel.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company has funded additional channel headcount within the company's top resellers and systems integrators, and is increasing marketing and development funds to showcase its security portfolio, said Rick Hanson, vice president of global sales and field operations at HP Enterprise Security. Hanson, who oversees a global direct sales team of about 650 people, said the growth in the mid-market is essential while the direct sales force works on larger deals. For example, some of the biggest deals in big data, according to Hanson, are with enterprises in the retail, pharmaceutical and financial sectors are using HP's IDOL Autonomy engine in collaboration with Arcsight and Vertica to tap into unstructured data and business analytics systems and find relationships. Security is very much part of big data business intelligence initiatives, Hanson said.

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"It's important for us to send the message that HP is not only a security product company but also a security consultative [company], thought leadership company," Hanson said.

The company's challenge has been to extend its reach into different market segments by leveraging both direct and channel led sales that work together, said Eli J. Kalil, vice president of HP Enterprise Security global sales channels. The direct sales team is incentivized to drive leads into HP's managed services program, Kalil said.

"We want to build an MSSP [managed security services provider] business that is partner led not HP-led," Kalil said. "Compensation is huge with the roll out of this program and we're getting close to a solution so that our direct sales guys and the MSSP program will be alignment with our partners and they will support and drive its success."

Much of the activity involves getting back the visibility that HP used to have with security, said William Loupakos, senior vice president at Arlington Heights, Ill.-based American Digital. Loupakos, whose firm has been selling HP enterprise server storage, networking and security for 20 years, said the company has brought together all of its security units so partners only have to work with one rep for its products.

"We never had so much great access and support from HP as we've had today," Loupakos said. "Our pipeline is growing dramatically because of that and because we've gone all-in."

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Kalil said the company is evaluating its Channel Pro Program, which mandates the $100,000 deal threshold for channel delivery. Business managers work with the channel on deals, and lines are drawn to avoid conflict with the direct sales force. The program will be reviewed over the next several years to consider whether larger deals are sent through the pipeline, Kalil said.

"We need to clearly have the direct sales force to go hunt the big game and drive multimillion dollar deals and have our channel become trained and enabled to drive the smaller deals," Kalil said.

Fortify, TippingPoint and Arcsight are in areas projected to see growth in the mid-market, say industry analysts. HP executives tell CRN that they are tapping managed service providers for the company's Fortify on Demand product, a managed version of its static and dynamic application analysis platform. HP Fortify continues to battle with IBM in the application security market, according to 451 Research, the market analysis division of The 451 Group. The on-demand model for code scanning is becoming broadly adopted in the application security market, said Wendy Nather, a research director within 451 Research's Enterprise Security Program. Vendors deliver the results through a portal and add value by removing false positives common with static source code scanners.

"The addition of humans on the backend to help validate the results is the biggest additional value that Fortify has brought in," Nather said.

Another big part of HP's channel executives say is the company's TippingPoint intrusion prevention system. HP competes in a market dominated by Cisco in a big way, especially with its acquisition of Sourcefire. Palo Alto Networks and FireEye are also getting attention with features and services that claim to identify zero-day exploits and custom malware. Much of the attention is due to heavy marketing spending, said John Kindervag, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc.

"FireEye is one piece of data that needs to be analyzed in context to other pieces of data," Kindervag said.

Kindervag said the company has been slow to make Arcsight line easy enough to use forcing firms evaluating the technology to look at LogRhythm, Q1 Labs and RSA's security analytics platform. Meanwhile the market is facing major changes as big data Hadoop projects add on more powerful security analytics capabilities.

The channel can also play a role with Arcsight, according to HP executives, who say they have simplified the deployment and management of the security information event management platform. An Express version is also aimed at midsize businesses.

ArcSight remains a leader in the security information event management market against IBM (Q1 Labs), McAfee (Nitro Security), according to 451 Research. LogRhythm has a strong customer base. Meanwhile, Splunk is increasingly making inroads with security among large enterprise customers. The market is being somewhat disrupted by the layering of Hadoop data analytics platforms, a trend that is limited to large enterprises that can afford to buy complimentary technologies, Nather said.