Dell Data Protection Pivots To Channel Amid 'Triple-Digit' Growth

Dell Data Security Solutions has become the fastest-growing product line in the company, capitalizing on the company's success in PC sales and cracking open a huge opportunity for channel partners, the company said.

"Endpoint security has exploded on us," Brett Hansen, executive director of Dell Data Security Solutions, told hundreds of partners at the Dell Security Peak Performance conference this week. "A few years ago, endpoint security meant anti-malware, maybe some anti-virus, but now there's a recognition that unless we do a better job protecting end users, we're going to have some big challenges."

At the same time, the workforce has undergone tremendous change, and security technology has struggled to keep up.

[Related: Dell Channel Chief: Here's Where Dell Security Really Differentiates Itself]

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At first, DDP focused on selling direct, but Hansen said more emphasis is now being put on the channel.

"We now have this amazing channel, which increases the size of the sales operation many times over," Hansen told CRN. "As a customer is buying a PC, they want to talk about the security needs for that platform. We're not selling just hardware, we're selling a solution, and buyers want security. The encryption platform is extremely compelling."

Christopher Sousa, vice president of enterprise design at Rockville, Md.-based Dell partner Dataprise, told CRN Dataprise has seen "explosive" growth with DDPE, especially among its roster of "highly regulated" Washington, D.C.-area customers.

"They're asking for new solutions to stay ahead of those compliance requirements," Sousa said. "Then, we can take those solutions to the rest of the market, to customers that aren't highly regulated. The more we can get ahead of customers, the more traction we're getting. We're able to have a story around a multilayered approach."

Tim Spires, owner and president of Arlington, Texas-based Dell partner EST Group, told CRN his company has grown 30 percent a year for the past five years, and has tripled its sales staff solely to support selling Dell.

"We didn't shore up any of the other vendors we deal with -- all of that was with Dell, and a lot of it is on the security side," Spires said.

Spires said the DDP solutions are a good fit for EST's public sector and higher education customers.

"It's a natural sale when someone's buying laptops. It's a no brainer, really," Spires said. "And with Dell, I don't have to get a third-party product to get it done. I can stay right inside Dell."

"It can be pretty alarming to see how different people are vulnerable to things," Spires said. "In higher education, there are a lot of mandates coming out now, and some real teeth in the laws around higher education. There's research that really needs to be protected, and people are carrying that around on multiple devices. It's really at risk."

Hansen said Dell has a clear advantage over typical full-disk encryption, and that advantage has been confirmed in the market with "triple-digit" revenue and profitability growth over past two years.

Dell established the Dell Data Security unit with the acquisition of software firm Credant in 2012. By encrypting data rather than using traditional full-disk encryption, Dell allows the customer to use cloud and mobile technology while ensuring that the data itself is encrypted at all times, even as it moves off, and between, devices. "It's a very powerful conversation we can have with customers," he said.

The growth comes as an increasingly mobile workforce dependent on devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops, as well as services like Box, Dropbox and G-Drive, find full-disk encryption from competitors like McAfee and Sophos "painful to deploy, and difficult to administer," Hansen said.

Full-disk encryption, Hansen said, "doesn't recognize that the modern workforce has changed and that encrypting at the endpoint only is a fundamentally flawed strategy."