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Dell Offers Partners An Abundance Of Goods For Zero Trust

O’Ryan Johnson

‘The litmus test of our security products and technology is do they take friction out of the customer journey in adoption of zero trust principles? Do they shift the burden to us and not the customer? Do they accelerate the customer’s ability to adopt zero trust architecture?’ says Dell Global Chief Technology Officer John Roese.

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Dell Technologies promises to “make it easy” for its customers to create networks built on a zero trust framework, while letting its channel partners resell Dell’s expertise in this security environment to their own customers.

Dell is offering zero-trust-aligned cybersecurity services, which give customers a road map to zero trust beginning with their existing security assets. The services identify security gaps, find a path to long-term cyber resilience and recommend technologies to get to zero trust. This includes offering a recurring vulnerability scan by Dell of the customer’s environment.

“We understand how difficult this is, how complex this is, to move to a different architecture to adopt principles that are intuitively obvious but difficult to implement. It is our job to make that easy,” Dell Global Chief Technology Officer John Roese said. “The litmus test of our security products and technology is do they take friction out of the customer journey in adoption of zero trust principles? Do they shift the burden to us and not the customer? Do they accelerate the customer’s ability to adopt zero trust architecture?”

[RELATED: Experts At Amazon, Google, Dell: Cybersecurity Begins At Home]

Dell hopes to change how end customers look at security in three ways: making sure the platform itself, the hardware and software customers use are securely designed and supplied; making sure the system where the data and applications live and work only “allows the good;” and then create a recovery plan for when all of that fails.

“We don’t believe a single product of any flavor can solve all security issues. We don’t believe that there is a silver bullet to security,” Roese said. “But we do believe that there are architectural approaches, product approaches, ecosystem approaches that can dramatically change the security posture of a modern enterprise.”

Boston-based Dell Platinum partner Winslow Technology Group told CRN its customers—regardless of size and vertical—are demanding zero trust components, such as the country of origin of the parts inside laptops and tamper-proof BIOS chips.

“I have had customers explicitly ask, ‘Do your laptops contain components from these 10 companies?’ … It is across the board and, as a solution provider, it’s totally unpredictable,” Gouin said. “All customers have a focus on cybersecurity. It’s no longer just in the HIPAA areas or heavily regulated industries. We’re seeing everything from manufacturing, financial, all the different verticals putting a bigger focus on security capabilities. Dell has ”

To this end, customers can now opt for Dell to disable PC ports prior to shipment to help prevent tampering of BIOS settings. Dell is also expanding availability of tamper-evident seals to Asia-Pacific and Europe, the Middle East and Africa to offer more physical security measures during shipment.

“That whole story is a differentiator when we are comparing Dell to some of the other laptop providers,” Gouin said. “It’s resonating in a huge way with our customers. I’ve heard it from their mouths that the security differentiators are why they go with Dell laptops.”

Meanwhile, thanks to a collaboration with Microsoft Intune, Dell said it is “first to market” with firmware protection that provides telemetry between Intune, as part of Microsoft Endpoint Manager, and Splunk consoles. This allows IT administrators to secure, control and configure Dell PCs, including BIOS configuration and password management. This will be available in a future release of Microsoft Intune.

Gouin said the explosion of work-from-home and cloud services has underlined the importance of customers embracing zero trust environments.

“In the old days we would secure the perimeter around our environments,” he said. “Now, because some people are at home, some people are in various offices, some stuff is in the cloud, there is no perimeter to secure. So that’s why we’ve seen this movement from the traditional security at the perimeter to today this defense-in-depth, zero trust, shift in architecture.”

Some of the zero trust offerings are available now, with others set for next year.

“Channel is absolutely critical for us,” said Dell’s Arun Krishnamoorthy, global strategy lead for resiliency and security, during a briefing for media. “As we move into the future, there will be a lot of co-delivery options where we will partner with the channel.”

O’Ryan Johnson

O’Ryan Johnson is a veteran news reporter. He covers the data center beat for CRN and hopes to hear from channel partners about how he can improve his coverage and write the stories they want to read. He can be reached at ojohnson@thechannelcompany.com..

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