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Why partners must stop educating and start strategising in security

James Henderson | Aug. 17, 2017
Onus on the channel to evolve and extend security capabilities as customers become more aware of emerging threats.

Kris Hagerman, CEO of Sophos. Photo via ARN.

Within hours of the biggest ransomware outbreak in history ravaging every corner of the earth, security vendors raced to research labs in a frantic bid to stem the tide.

Yet in parallel, marketing and PR departments where in overdrive, pushing out countless - and pointless - communications around the value of protection, the importance of security and unashamedly, why product X was the answer to the world’s problems.

Press release here, whitepaper there, monotonous ‘expert’ musings everywhere.

And partners where at it also, bombarding customers with cheap rhetoric around how they could be next, why nobody is safe and why Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) is now a target.

Yawn. Perhaps someone should have mentioned that the industry has heard it all before.

Because three months since WannaCry struck at the heart of the UK National Health Service (NHS), the Russian government and the Spanish telecommunications sector - as well as over 100 countries - the channel is once again picking up the pieces.

But instead of aligning with the misguided belief that customers are unaware of the rising security threats in the market, and that they desperately crave education and enlightenment, isn’t it time for the channel to change tack?

“We’ve had our worldwide wake-up calls this year,” acknowledged Kris Hagerman, CEO of Sophos, when speaking to ARN on the ground at Sophos Partner Conference in Bangkok. “They serve as a reminder to ensure customers are on modern operating systems, are updated and patched and are working with the right trusted advisor and security vendor.

“It highlighted the value of adopting a multi-layered systemic approach to security and for the organisations that did, WannaCry was not a problem.”

Despite the acknowledgement however, Hagerman refused to revert to standard vendor preachings around security, recognising that security consistently features as a leading priority for IT executives across the world.

Such a sentiment was backed up by EDGE Research findings, which places security as the no.2 priority for customers across A/NZ in 2017, behind only cloud in terms of investment.

“Every year for the past five or six years, IT leaders of any sized organisation have consistently ranked security as a top priority, and it’s gaining ground on others such as cloud,” Hagerman explained.

“WannaCry broke through the industry and became a front page story in every major publication across the world - that doesn’t happen very often, perhaps a few times a decade.

“So there isn’t a lack of awareness around the important of security, but every few months or quarters the industry receives a jolt which prompts everyone to think differently.”


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