Security Channel Chiefs: What's Your Biggest Security Fear?

What's Keeping You Up At Night?

With mega data breaches, nation state attacks, sophisticated malware and more, there's plenty to keep a security professional up at night. Channel chiefs from top security vendors such as Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks, ForeScout Technologies and Sophos dished on what their greatest fears are for their partners and the security industry at large. The excerpts are from a roundtable discussion at XChange 2015, which was held recently in National Harbor, Md., and hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company. Take a look at what the channel chiefs had to say scares them the most about the security industry right now.

Joseph Sykora, Vice President, Americas Channels, Fortinet

"I’m going to go with people. ... It’s find that expertise, that’s the fear I have ... and I think we’re all trying to help our partners become better in security but it’s the resources. … I’ll probably say all of us here probably have [security experts] or engineering job ranks open that we’re trying to hire, so probably the biggest fear if I were a channel partner is ’A,’ retaining talent and ’B,’ developing talent. Security is not slowing down."

Ron Myers, Vice President Worldwide Channels, Palo Alto Networks

"My biggest, it’s not a fear as such, just something that I think we all have to work through. You want your partners to be perceived as the trusted security adviser to a customer … and some have been around a long time and they are used to selling point solutions, they’re very comfortable with a renewal activity vs. disrupting their customer with a better solution. So, our challenge is how do you take it from an easy renewal to selling a solution that is more appropriate for the time for the digital age and helping them understand how to target, to share that and spend [time] with the customer so that they align with us. It’s not a fear; it’s just an education process. It’s happening."

John Shier, Vice President, Channel Technical Services, Sophos

"Just as security is becoming a bigger part of the VAR business and the MSP business, it might not have been the core business a year ago, two years ago, but five years ago. It’s helping those partners evolve to address their customers’ needs; that’s the challenge. And making sure that they’re agile enough to respond to that. Their customers need more security and they need better security partners out of the VAR community and being able to be there for them, to provide that, I think is the challenge. That they can again respond appropriately to their customers’ needs and better secure the entire ecosystem for all of us."

Devin Archer, Americas Channel Director, ForeScout Technologies

" I would just go back to the people and resources. We’re struggling to find capacity within our own business as we hire and [we need] partners to become experts on our stuff and be able to deploy it out in the fields, so we need to go faster. There’s a great opportunity out there for partners to really take a hold of something and make money around it, the professional services around all of what we do is a big, big business. The business re-engineering that you have around security is a big business and if they don’t invest in that and if they continue to just sell a point solution and 10 days of consulting to get the box to work, you’re missing the point."