CRN Exclusive: RSA Exec On What Future Looks Like For Partners Under Dell Technologies

With the close of the Dell-EMC deal Wednesday, RSA moves into the fold of Dell Technologies. What does that mean exactly for the future of EMC’s security division and its technologies?

For now, it is all about business as usual for the security division, Grant Geyer, RSA's senior vice president of products, said in an exclusive interview with CRN.

RSA will continue to operate as an autonomous brand under Dell Technologies, including around its product strategy, strategic relationships, customers and partners. Current President Amit Yoran will continue in his role leading RSA, Geyer said.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: Michael Dell On A Rival's Failed Bid To Buy EMC, HPE's Attempts To Recruit EMC Partners And 'Channel Day' At Dell Technologies]

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’It’s really business as usual for us and the Dell merger hasn’t changed any of the course or velocity that we’re executing on,’ Geyer said. ’Dell has been very clear that RSA will continue to maintain an autonomous brand while continuing to drive our autonomous product strategy and the ability to determine what relationships our customers need to maintain in terms of strategic partners and ecosystem we need to be successful,’ he said.

Yoran echoed those sentiments in a blog post Wednesday.

’I am happy to tell you that RSA’s mission remains unchanged. And our commitment and passion to help our customers transform their security programs remain unchanged. RSA will continue to focus on delivering solutions that help enable our customers worldwide to create business-driven security strategies that connect business context with threat activities to more quickly and efficiently defend against cyber risk,’ Yoran said. He said RSA will also continue to ’enrich our channel.’

Geyer said that ’business as usual’ approach extends to the company’s partner program, which it launched earlier this year to reinvigorate its commitment to the channel. He said RSA does not ’expect to see any change to that.’

’I think the most important thing from our perspective is we do no harm to partnerships we enjoy from the relationships we have in place. We have very clear messaging from Dell to give us that latitude,’ Geyer said.

Geyer said CEO Michael Dell has also made it clear that security is part of the vision going forward for Dell Technologies, as it is a ’core’ piece of the business transformations that the new company is looking to enable. CMO Jeremy Burton echoed that sentiment in a blog post about the launch of Dell Technologies, saying the workforce demands a ’security transformation’ that addresses the move away from perimeter technologies and a rise in data protection.

’The security posture of organizations must evolve to protect the business without being an impediment to it. Security must be intelligence-driven -- becoming better informed through threat intelligence, analytics and shared expertise. We secure our customers’ businesses from edge to core to cloud with RSA and SecureWorks,’ Burton said.

The commitment to integrating the companies comes in stark contrast to serious talks EMC was holding prior to the Dell acquisition to spin off RSA into an independent company, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told CRN at the time. While RSA will continue to operate autonomously under Dell Technologies, Geyer said there is a ’world of opportunities’ to leverage under the new parent company.

’There are so many opportunities we have between parts of the Dell product portfolio and routes to market. It’s just a question of how we get started. All of that, plus a commitment Dell has made to our partner program. … I feel like it’s the best of both worlds,’ Geyer said.

Jane Wright, principal analyst at Technology Business Research, said RSA is being very clear about its autonomy within Dell Technologies. She said RSA is positioning itself to be sold alongside the assets of an IT vendor, taking a different approach than companies like Intel Security, which announced Wednesday it would spin off from parent company Intel.

’Will they want to purchase hybrid cloud component and security software from same person, that will remain to be seen. Clearly others, such as Intel, think not. Dell with RSA is taking a very different stand,’ Wright said.

Geyer specifically called out an opportunity for RSA to work with Dell SecureWorks, the company’s managed security services arm. Dell took SecureWorks public in April but maintains a close relationship with the company. Geyer said there are ’natural opportunities’ for RSA and SecureWorks to work together around managed security services, in particular around integrating RSA’s network forensics and analytics technologies.

’There is a world of opportunity that we need to investigate in terms of all of the opportunity at our fingertips. It really comes down to giving more options to round out the portfolio to be successful,’ Geyer said. He said RSA will be sure to find an ’important balance’ between existing MSSP and reseller partners and Dell SecureWorks, so existing partners don’t feel threatened by the new relationship.

Geyer said RSA also plans to continue executing on its current technical vision around ’business-driven security’ offerings. That portfolio includes its NetWitness suite, SecureID portfolio and Archer governance, risk and compliance offerings.