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COLUMN: Why Optiv Is A Security Superstar

CRN’s Steve Burke says Optiv CEO Kevin Lynch has transformed the world’s largest pure-play security solution provider into a next-generation security services co-innovation partner.

Those looking to protect themselves from cybercriminals in an age in which security threats are ubiquitous need look no further than Optiv, the world’s largest pure-play security solution provider.

Optiv CEO Kevin Lynch has transformed the Denver-based company into a next-generation security services co-innovation partner that is charting a new path for customers to beat the bad actors.

Lynch has upped the company’s services quotient and has it operating at the ever-accelerating speed of the fast-moving security threat market.

Before he took the helm, Optiv was primarily a static security product reseller. Now, the company is advising, architecting and acting as a co-innovation partner with an eye on managing infrastructure for customers in an as-a-service model.

Lynch, who detailed the new competitive dynamics reshaping the security market at CRN parent The Channel Company’s BoB (Best of Breed) conference, said speed is the “No. 1 imperative” he has been driving since he took the helm in April 2020. That means speed to innovate, speed to market, speed to business outcomes and even speed to bring on talented new members of the Optiv team.

What Lynch has done is dramatically increase the rate at which Optiv can deliver business outcomes for customers. That means cutting the time to put boots on the ground or deliver virtually for a customer to less than a day, as opposed to the multiple days it took Optiv to deliver with static offerings before Lynch changed the model.

That ability to respond quickly has changed the Optiv customer relationship. First and foremost, it has brought a razor-sharp clarity to delivering security business outcomes for customers in an era where threats are changing by the minute. That’s no small matter given that the average Optiv customer has 75 to 90 different security technologies, with 30 percent of those not deployed or deployed with the wrong telemetry, according to Lynch. Even worse, he said, many of those customers lack a strategic security plan or even an incident response plan.

Lynch has, in effect, flipped the old reactive security product reseller model and put in its place a services-centric methodology that is delivering a new aggressive security posture to cybersecurity-fatigued enterprise customers. Lynch has a dire warning for those solution providers not moving to meet the new market dynamics. He said the old-world “static security partner” model is coming to a close. “The signals from our market are very, very clear if you just listen a little bit,” Lynch told attendees at the BoB conference. “The market is asking for an innovation partner—a co-innovation partner.”

That notion of becoming a co-innovation partner has been welcomed with open arms by customers frustrated with partners hawking multiyear security subscriptions. The problem, he said, is those static, multiyear subscriptions are simply not delivering the security or business outcomes customers are demanding.

“This notion of a fixed scope over a long threshold with a dynamic market is coming to a close,” he said. “But the idea of having an innovation mindset when you take that contract on—where you’re actually thinking about innovating the assets, changing the platform and helping them to expand the use cases and deliver a differentiated value—is selling off the shelves as fast as we can provision it. There’s quite a big difference.”

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