Opinion

Choosing the right security vendor

As a security reseller, there probably is not a day goes by when you don't receive an email or a call from a vendor who is hawking the next latest and greatest technology that will make you rich, and solve the problems of every end user organisation. So the question is; what should you be selling, and pitching right now? asks Calum MacLeod, EMEA director at Venafi.

There are clearly certain "hot" topics, such as Cloud - whatever that is - and Mobile. And wherever you look, it seems like everyone is selling "Clouds", including cloud security, acceleration, storage, etc. And of course mobile device management is hot, so throw in BYOD, and before you know it, you're off and running "selling" clouds to people who bring their own devices. It sounds simple and straight forward doesn't it?

The problem is that your competitors are also out there looking for the "quick win", and my experience in the business over many years is that IT security is definitely an industry where "if it sounds too good to be true" then it generally is.

Over the past few years, there has hardly been a week when there has not been a reported security breach, and as a result there is a growing awareness that the management of security has not kept pace with the changes in the way organisations are using technology. So before you jump at the next "silver bullet", take time to talk to your customers and understand what challenges they are facing in areas such as key and certificate management.  

And choose your partner carefully. Look for vendors with a mature solution that has already been deployed in large enterprises. With any problem, certain aspects of a solution are easier to create than others, and many vendors, especially start-ups, will look to capitalise by focussing on functionality that requires minimal R&D investment and offers a quick return. Often these solutions may appear to address your customers' needs but frequently will present major challenges during the installation and once deployed.

So look for vendors that have professional accreditation programs for partners, and who can demonstrate experience in large deployments. Ultimately you need to work with vendors who measure customer success as key criteria. The vendor who is willing to spend more time listening to your customers, and less time blowing their own trumpet, is the one you should be pitching. 

This was first published in March 2012

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