Perspectives from Nick Gibson: partnering with IBM Security for success
How has IT security evolved in the last few years? How does it affect other IT companies that partner with IBM?
“So IT security has evolved over the last number of years. It really started gaining speed back in 2008, where the first Trojan virus, called Zeus, attacked banking data and extracted personal information from those banks. Since then, there’s been a number of attacks: it seems like every day you open the newspaper or turn on a webpage, there’s a headline of somebody being attacked. Most recently in the UK, a number of universities have been attacked and that’s led to the gaining of personal data from those universities.”
Why is security such a big topic now? Should we be afraid?
“Due to the explosion of the threats that are out there, what we’ve seen in the market is that there’s a vast shortage of skills and resources available to the end users or customers to employ. In fact, one analyst predicts there will be 1.5 million job shortages in the security space by 2020.
“That means a number of customers are turning to MSPs, or managed security service providers to fill that gap and provide solutions and services to their customers in their security space. We’ve seen an explosion in terms of the revenue that IBM bring in through the MSP and security service providers over the last 18 months, which really underlines that trend in terms of more customers and organisations turning to trusted third parties to provide that service to their end customers or to themselves.”
Which solutions does IBM provide that can help these companies?
“So the good thing about IBM is that we’ve got a very broad portfolio of security solutions out there in the market. That ranges from some simple solutions on-premise, all the way through to our very large SaaS portfolio, and we can also offer our services portfolio to be sold through our MSPs and business partner channel.”
Why is IBM a good partner for security?
“There’s three main reasons why a partner looks at a vendor when it comes to choosing a partner relationship. The first is the demand or a pull in the market, the second is a consistent way of earning money from that vendor, and the third is the support that that vendor provides.
“In terms of the demand from the market, the portfolio of solutions and offerings that IBM have is very comprehensive. They’ve all been ranked ‘best-of-breed’ in terms of independent analysts and they’re also very open, so they can be linked into other third-party vendors and solutions as well, which their partner may already be selling. We’ve also got a very strong alliance: the most recent one that we signed was with Cisco, where we’re integrating out-of-the-box IBM solutions with Cisco security solutions.
“In terms of the margin that is available, we’ve got a consistent way of rewarding and paying our partners for the work that they do, in terms of selling and embedding our solutions into their offerings. That’s been greatly improved over the last few years, so now the partner can see that when they sign up and register a deal, they will know how much they’re going to earn once that deal closes.
“The third area is everything around support, and we’ve again increased the number of resources that we have available to support the channel. We’ve got some new remote support capabilities which will allow the partner to call up and ask for help, and that ranges from a price quotation all the way through to doing an online demo to help the partner sell that solution to the end customer.”
Main benefits for companies to partner with IBM Security?
“The first main benefit for companies to partner with IBM is that we have a very large portfolio: you can start on one area of the portfolio and then grow it into other areas. Or if you’re already a security partner, you can actually complement your existing solutions with IBM technology. The other main benefit is we’re consistently adding to the portfolio: we’ve done over 20 acquisitions since we formed the IBM Security unit, and we’re going to continue to invest and acquire new companies, which you as a partner can also take out to market. The third area is that all our solutions are very open, so we can integrate to your existing technology and your existing solutions that you sell very easily.”