Partners Favor Scale Over Product Margins: Security Survey

A new survey of nearly 1,000 channel partners unveils the top priorities that solution providers have when choosing a security vendor.


Channel partners favor scalability and ease of management over product margins or discounts when choosing a cybersecurity vendor as a partner, according to a new survey of nearly 1,000 channel partners conducted by Cato Networks.

“You might think that money talks, and so product margins and wealth of services would be the channel’s top considerations, but our survey tells a different story,” said Niv Barzilay, director of global channel marketing at Cato Networks. “Far more important than a product’s margins, is the complexity of bringing that product to market.”

The No. 1 priority for channel partners when choosing a security vendor to partner with is scalability, with 48 percent of respondents saying it was a top priority.

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Ease of management placed second with 46 percent of respondents saying it was a top priority, followed by 41 percent regarding a security vendor’s ease of integration capability.

It is key to note that only 21 percent of respondents said product margins or discounts was a top priority, coming in eighth overall.

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“Security is way too important for our customers for us to focus on, ‘who has the best margins’ versus, ‘who and what will actually provide the best security solution,’” said Brian Miller, CEO of FusionTek, a Kirkland, Wash.-based channel partner. “It’s much better for us to have the best product out there in our customers environment.”

He said if there are scalabilty issues or security vulnerabilities found in a vendor’s products, that issue is far more important for his company and customers compared to what a they can make in sales margin.

“Patching appliances or having an issue with a solution where you have to get the customer on the phone explaining what went wrong is the last thing you want to do. So yeah, I agree that things like how well it scales and how easy it is to manage is more important for us than the margins on a security product sale,” said Miller.

Other Top Priorities

According to Cato’s study, the other top priorities channel partners have when choosing a security vendor is its ability to be delivered as-a-service, with 41 percent saying of respondents saying its a top priority.

Rounding out the list is: competitive pricing at 38 percent, the wealth of services partners can provide at 32 percent, time to market at 23 percent, and upfront monetary investment needed at 7 percent.

Cato’s Barzilay said the study proves that the overhead of delivering appliances often outweighs the margins in selling them.

“Appliances have always been about facilitating access to the data center, but over 70 percent of respondents agree or strongly agree that the data center is no longer the center of data and that most applications and data reside elsewhere,” said Barzilay, touting that Cato’s Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) portfolio provides a better solution compared to security appliances.

Cato Networks surveys nearly 1,000 channel partners globally about the company’s top security partner considerations including resellers, MPSs, and mast agents across the Americas, EMEA [Europe, Middle East and Africa] and Asia-Pacific.