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Ingram Micro Link Helps Partners Close Deals, Build Bench Of Security Talent

Ingram Micro Link is helping solution providers find the cybersecurity talent they need and put it to work.

With this year’s spike in ransomware attacks showing no signs of cooling off, the need for best-in-class security has never been greater. But harnessing the top people and products is difficult for small to midsize solution providers, said Eric Kohl, vice president of the Advanced Solutions, Networking and Security Business Unit at Ingram Micro.

“Our goal is to help our MSPs, our VARs, our resellers to become more proactive, more profitable, highly trusted security advisers by bringing in additional competencies they may or may not have,” Kohl said. “We’ve got to help our partners look like the No. 1 MSSP in the world, and we can do that through services augmentation and helping them design solutions.”

Ransomware attacks targeting MSPs and their customers have dominated technology headlines this year, bringing security to the fore of nearly every conversation solution providers have with their customers.

[RELATED: Ahead Of The Curve: How Ingram Micro Is Helping Partners Thrive]

Ingram Micro wants to be known as the go-to-market partner for all things cybersecurity, solutions and services, Kohl said. To help solution providers start their security journey or accelerate the one they are on, Ingram Micro has organized all of its vendors and products according to the five pillars recognized by the National Institute of Standards and Technology: identify, protect, defend, respond and recover.

“As you provide protection for your clients, those are the five pillars that you want to make sure you are working through as you design and implement solutions and services,” Kohl said. “The NIST framework helps us position adjacent technologies and services to make that decision more bulletproof.”

Most solution providers cannot afford to build a Security Operations Center and have difficulty finding top security talent, according to Kohl. To help with both of those goals, Ingram Micro has developed Ingram Micro Link, where partners can find the talent they need and put it to work for their business.

In one example of how Ingram Micro Link benefits partners, Kohl described an email he recently received from a partner.

“They said, ‘I have a client that needs a penetration test. They need a third party to do this. They want the outside lens,’” Kohl said. “It was a very in-depth assessment that was required. We got on the phone with our partner and the client and walked them through the Statement of Work and we just closed that for them.”

Meanwhile, in another example, an Ingram Micro partner recently had been hit with ransomware and needed 10 technicians on site in a very short time frame. The partner was able to leverage Ingram Micro Link and quickly find that help, according to Kohl.

Deborah Gannaway, principal with DG Technology Consulting, Tampa, Fla., said retaining a talented security staff is difficult in today’s market for many SMB-focused solution providers.

“What Ingram Micro does is they expand our bench,” Gannaway said. “They’ve done a precheck, so you know when they bring one of these guys in that they’ve already been vetted in terms of making sure they can deliver on the services. The services have been huge for us. That’s allowed us to grow our business so much. It has really helped us expand out of a small area and grow so we can go to a customer and have the capability to go deeper and wider with our current base.”

Sam Barhoumeh, CEO of Chicago-based ReadyNetworks, a 180-employee MSP with a global presence, said a deeper bench allows small partners to appear much bigger and close deals. Through Ingram Micro Link solution providers can fi nd local experts in specialized fields who will white-label their services for a job, he said.

“Say the partner just wins a deal and they just realized they don’t have the technical bench to deliver the Statement of Work they put in front of this customer,” Barhoumeh said. “They’re short. Someone quit. Whatever the scenario, Ingram Micro has a professional services team [that] allows the [solution provider] the opportunity to connect with the partner who can service it. Ingram Micro sits right in the middle of that deal until it’s transacted and closed out.”

Gannaway said even for large issues such as building a Security Operations Center, Ingram Micro has access to the products and people who can help—and boost profits for the solution provider that owns the deal.

“We’ve gone to Ingram and they put us in contact with someone, or we use that as a SKU for us. Then we can sell more to our customers, and the margins are very good,” she said. “Clients are willing to pay more when you add value.”

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