IDC: Security Market Chaos Creates Services Opportunties For Channel

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The security market is in the midst of a big transition, resulting in disruption and chaos for all involved, but that opens new doors of opportunities for savvy solution providers, IDC Analyst and Research Manager Robert Westervelt said Saturday night at the XChange IT Security University conference in Washington D.C.

"This is truly a market that is in transition. ...The entire market is disrupted right now," Westervelt said. "We've got a market in transition, and a little bit of chaos right now," he said during a keynote presentation at the event, which precedes this week's XChange 2015 conference hosted by CRN publisher The Channel Company, which kicks off Sunday afternoon.

Channel partners, in particular are facing that disruption, he said, as it becomes increasingly difficult for them to evaluate the growing number of vendors and products in the market and whether they fit in with the technology products already in solution providers' portfolios. However, that challenge is also an opportunity for partners to use services to cut through the noise for clients, he said.

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"I think a lot of the emerging security vendors, the new names that you're seeing are actually causing some of this disruption. As a result of them coming to market, there are a lot of services opportunities there," Westervelt said.

Eric LaFleur, president and CEO of Haverhill, Mass.-based NorthEast Computer Services, said this is where he sees the opportunity for his MSP business to grow into security. He said he sees a big opportunity for expansion for his company's services business.

"I think that's what I'm going to pick up on, ... how do we create an offering around some of these products and companies and trends and build that into a new revenue stream," LaFleur said.

Westervelt dug into one emerging area of security technologies, called Specialized Threat Analysis and Protection (STAP), as a new and important area for solution providers to evaluate to combat this disruption. STAP uses a non-signature-based approach to threat detection, with solutions for end-point, boundary (such as firewall solutions), and internal network analysis. This market, which was only about $200 million in 2012, is expected to hit at least $1.17 billion by 2017, according to IDC research.

On top of that, Westervelt said channel partners can expect to see "more and more" of cloud-hosted enterprise security services for automated response, web, endpoint and network security.

Vendors are not immune to this disruption, he said, and are facing a lot of confusion as they try to build out their product lines to match their partner and client integration and portfolio needs.

Adding to that confusion is an overall market shift towards what IDC calls the third platform, which involves a focus on user experience, cost and shared risk across the growing pillars of social, mobile, cloud and big data and analytics.

With partners, vendors and clients facing lots of confusion, Westervelt said the one group that wasn't struggling is the hackers.

"[Hackers] are taking advantage of what is happening in the market, all of this confusion. You see that in the breaches that we've had in the last 12 to 18 months," Westervelt said, citing recent examples of Home Depot, Sony, the Office of Personnel Management.

On the vendor side, Westervelt said this disruption and market change will catalyze increased merger and acquisition activity, particularly around forensics, endpoint security and cloud. That trend that has already started, with recent examples such as Blue Coat and Perspecsys, Cisco and OpenDNS, Palo Alto Networks and Cyvera, CounterTack and Mantech Cyber Solutions, to name a few.

With all this change and turmoil, Westervelt's ultimate advice was for partners to remain skeptical, do their homework and talk to their channel peers about the challenges they are facing and how to deal with them.