CRN Exclusive: TekLinks Expands Into Security With Launch Of Dedicated Cybersecurity Consulting Group

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TekLinks has already made a name for itself in the IT channel as one of the top solution providers in the country, especially in cloud and managed services. Now, the company is looking to take that expertise into the cybersecurity market with the launch of a new, dedicated practice.

The launch of the new Cybersecurity Consulting Group started about eight months ago when the Birmingham, Ala.-based company decided it needed to have more strategic conversations with clients around security, TekLinks President Don Monistere told CRN. He said TekLinks recognized an opportunity to help its clients mitigate their security risk with a new consulting offering. 

"We decided we needed to be focused on having conversations with our clients that are more strategic, as opposed to product and services conversations," Monistere said. "It's about what their overall risk management looks like and how they are going about handling cybersecurity as a component of a much bigger conversation about risk."

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"This is one of those strategic decisions that wasn't difficult to make," he said. "All you have to do is listen to customers."

The new group includes more advanced security services to help customers identify gaps in their security postures, said Nick VanGilder, one of the leaders of the new group. That includes having conversations around things like developing a security program, assessing program maturity, as well as services like penetration testing, vulnerability assessments, and social engineering engagements. The services are offered à la carte, he said, so customers pick and choose the services that they want.

"We've done a great job with other stuff in our portfolio … While that's all good, we wanted to have a different type of security interaction with our prospects and our customers," VanGilder said.

TekLinks did previously offer security solutions to its customers, but it has primarily been around areas like threat detection, managed firewall, and security product resale to date. The company would offer some more sophisticated security services to clients but would partner with other organizations specializing in those areas to do so.

While the opportunity around security is large – with the market expected to grow 7 percent to $86.4 billion by the end of the year according to Gartner – the investment required is also significant, Monistere said. He said the new group requires substantial labor cost and effort to get up and running, a push that required the buy-in of both the executive leadership team and the company's private equity owners at a strategic meeting in May.

To drive that commitment, TekLinks has brought in dedicated security resources for the new group, Will Enochs, another leader of the group, said. It has also appointed Monistere to focus on the group as a priority in his role as president of the company. Enochs said having qualified people with a proven track record in consulting assessment type offerings is key. He said TekLinks has already brought on two dedicated resources and the company has "aspirations to grow" the group.

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