CRN Exclusive: HPE To Start Selling Data Security Products Through Partners

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is undertaking a strategy to move more of its security products through partners, telling CRN that it is starting to open its data security portfolio to the channel, lines that had previously only been sold direct.

"As a company, HPE is heavily focused on security and bringing security to the market for the customer base. With that in mind, we have taken on the role of wanting to bring our data security solutions, which have been traditionally sold direct, into the channel," said Sheryl Wharff, global product marketing for HPE Data Security.

The first of those systems to be moved through the channel is the Enterprise Secure Key Manager (ESKM), a certified hardware and software platform to manage encryption keys, she said. HPE has also started moving its SecureMail email and data protection system through partners. Partners have already started selling both products, she said.

[Related: Hewlett Packard Enterprise Reportedly Looking To Unload Autonomy Assets, Partners Think It'll Be A Tough Sale]

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HPE is targeting reseller partners who already sell the company's infrastructure systems, primarily the HPE ProLiant system in either Gen 8 or Gen 9, or the company's 3PAR disc arrays, which are already sold with encryption capabilities. For those partners, who usually have deep expertise with HPE's high-end server and storage lines, Wharff said there is a "huge opportunity" to start conversations around security, which add value to customers around protection of sensitive data and additional revenue streams for the partner.

"It's the next logical step for these resellers to begin to add security to their business. They're very excited about it and very excited about bringing it to market," Wharff said. "This adds a wealth of opportunity for our resellers."

Adding to that opportunity is a growing customer recognition of the importance of encryption technologies, Wharff said, driven by highly publicized data breaches and questions around application security.

"It's a much easier sell because the market has recognized that it's very important to protect data at rest that's sensitive. You need to bring these new technologies into the market and you need to protect the data in a way you haven't before," Wharff said.

Jeff Smith, vice president of business development and digital transformation solutions at Plainview, N.Y.-based International Integration Solutions, one of the largest HPE partners in the country, said his business has already been "making good inroads" with the security technologies. In particular, he said he is seeing significant demand from clients with regulatory requirements, such as PCI or HIPAA.

For example, he already has two healthcare companies engaged in talks for potential sales, one of which was driven by recent reports of a Philadelphia-based healthcare services company that had to pay $650,000 to settle HIPAA violations due to data loss. Smith said that type of fine could have been prevented with stronger data security solutions in place, such as those now being moved through the channel at HPE.

"We think it's very positive," Smith said.

Wharff said the Data Security business, as one of the three pillars of the company's security strategy alongside ArcSight and Fortify, is of the "utmost importance" to HPE. The Data Security business is the fastest growing of the three pillars, she said.

"As a company, we have been making sure that we can help our customers accelerate their businesses. With the split of HP and HPE…security is a mainstream for the company now," Wharff said, referring to last year's split of the Hewlett-Packard Co. into two companies. "We have a much higher focus from HP Security on this."

Smith praised HPE's push to move more security solutions through the channel, a strategic change he credited, in part, to channel veteran Sue Barsamian who was named senior vice president of enterprise security products for HP Software in August 2015.

"[That] made us very interested in going on that ride with her and pursuing that success with her because we know she will be successful in transforming all of the security business in HPE to be a very channel-focused endeavor," Smith said. "That channel DNA now runs through the entire organization."

For that reason, Wharff said partners can expect to see HPE move more data security products through the channel. She said the company already has "plans to do that" and will roll out more products as they become "channel ready" and will seed the market with "aggressive packages" and incentives.

"For HPE, channels are a very, very high priority for the company. It's the way we grow and expand. We really value our channels," Wharff said. "Our goal is to continue to look at our solutions and during development and during our next phase of them make sure they can be…embraced by the channel."