Dell Security Partner Expects Continued 300 Percent Growth As SMB Demand Grows

When Helena, Mont.-based solution provider ITC visited a customer that wanted to upgrade its SonicWall firewall, it got an earful.

The customer, ThomasARTS, a Farmington, Utah-based advertising agency, needed more security. The agency's customers -- highly regulated health-care firms in particular -- were demanding to know what was being done to secure customer data. Its existing vendor wasn't engaging in that conversation, and the agency was looking for a replacement, ITC Vice President of Operations Ken Keller told CRN. "They had an existing pain point, and nobody was talking to them about it," he said.

Keller said the market is crowded with customers like ThomasARTS, creating a huge opportunity for partners. He estimated that ITC's Dell security business has increased between 300 percent and 400 percent in the last year, and he expects to maintain that pace for the next 18 months.

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

ITC, a Dell Premier partner with a roster of customers large and small, public sector and private, has been a SonicWall partner for 15 years. It became a Dell KACE partner six months ago and, in that time, it has racked up four KACE customers, and its pipeline is growing.

Until recently, customers, especially SMBs, haven't paid close attention to security for a variety of reasons from tight budgets to simple lack of urgency, Keller said.

Now, there's more pressure on IT managers to do something about security, "and they don't know where to start," Keller said.

When ITC started the conversation with ThomasARTS about Dell's KACE systems management and security software business, "we couldn't feed them enough information fast enough," Keller told CRN. Within two weeks, ThomasARTS was sold on Dell data encryption, as well as two of Dell KACE's management appliances and the Dell KACE desktop authority management suite.

The sale took two weeks, displacing a large legacy vendor and beating out competition from Symantec's Altiris and LANDesk, Keller said. The Dell KACE solution was up and running within 30 days. The speed of the deployment, as well as the affordability and simplicity of the solution, won the deal, Keller said.

During a recent Dell Security Peak Performance conference, Bill Odell, senior director of marketing for Dell endpoint systems management, said the speed with which Dell KACE solutions can be deployed is unprecedented. He added that Dell KACE offers several ways for partners to sell some aspects of the solution while saving others for follow-up calls.

Speed is certainly one of the key selling points, Keller said. He added that Dell has been very helpful in making sure Dell KACE implementations go smoothly.

"They're saying pick three areas you want to start with, whether it's inventory, patch management and service desk, and don't try to do it all," Keller said. "If you keep it to three or four tasks and focus on getting those deployed and implemented correctly, you can have it up in two to four weeks, and you can add everything else over the next few months."

The other major selling point is the fact that Dell KACE's solutions are tied together, including help desk, in a single family, and they don't require customers to buy more servers or licensing. They're simply added to customers' existing VMware clusters. Customers aren't buying "one thing from company A and another thing from company B and hiring two people just to keep their endpoints secure," Keller said.

ThomasARTS' workforce is "50 percent PC, 50 percent Mac, and mobile that's almost all iOS, and we did all security through Dell on one platform, all the way through encryption," Keller said. "That's important in today's environment."

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