Security in the Channel: Let’s Talk

In March we held our third round of CompTIA ANZ Channel Community meetings in Sydney and Melbourne. We focused on security and how the IT channel should deal with security issues.

The key takeaways were:

The channel needs to understand how to manage security challenges
As you are probably aware, information security is one of the greatest challenges for the IT industry today. And it looks as though it is only going to rise in importance over time. As both the threat landscape and the security environment evolve over time, the channel is going to have to work out how best to manage these changes.

At our events in Sydney and Melbourne, we hosted panel discussions featuring representatives of some of the leading security vendors in Australia. Some interesting points emerged from these discussions, and many of them were not specifically about the technology.

You should talk security with your customers
It became clear, for example, that to make the most of today’s security offering, you should spend time discussing security with your customers; get to know their business needs and stay engaged so you can provide ongoing advice as needs arise.

Help them understand the risks
There is a greater need to help customers understand the value of their data, and you need to have meaningful conversations with customers about the threat landscape. You need to ask customers all of the critical questions about their business, that way you can build a team of talent to take them to the next level.

Consider consolidating the vendors you work with
Another way for channel players to operate more efficiently is to focus on a smaller number of solutions and vendors that provide an entire stack of solutions. This way, you can go deeper with training to get to know the solutions inside and out, rather than simply going for piecemeal approach with solutions from a whole range of different vendors.

Smartphones or IoT: the risks will evolve but they won’t disappear
As for the future of security in the IT industry, the threats are always going to remain evasive, and evolve to make use of the greatest points of vulnerability. There is now an enormous amount attention on smartphones. A lot of information passes through smartphones, and they pose a prime point of vulnerability. However, attackers will always pivot to make use of points of weakness, no matter where they are. While it may be about smartphones now, further down the track, the connected devices that make up the Internet of Things will likely feature heavily on hackers’ radars.

Social media is a key point of vulnerability
Unsurprisingly, social media featured prominently in round table discussions. The proliferation of social media platforms continues to provide an effective way of duping people into releasing sensitive information or cracking login credentials. Organisations need to provide training and develop a set of social media rules to help crack down on this source of vulnerability.

Skills gap remains a pressing concern
One of the more pressing concerns among the channel that arose during the meetings was around the IT security skills gap in the local market. According to the results of our March meetings attendee survey, 86 per cent said that some degree of a security skills gap exist within their organisations.

At the same time, cloud and mobile are the two most important areas for security skills, according to the March meeting attendees, while 81 per cent of attendees plan to minimise their IT security-related skills gap over the next year by partnering with other firms.

Come to the next meetings in June
These are just a few of the thoughts and insights that arose during our most recent meetings, which are aimed at providing the local channel community a non-competitive forum with which to discuss the common challenges faced by the channel in Australia and New Zealand. If you’re interested in taking part of the conversation, you’re welcome to come along to our next meetings in June.

For more information or to join the community visit: https://www.comptia.org/communities/anz-channel

Moheb Moses is a Community Director at CompTIA and serves as Director for Channel Dynamics.