The VAR Guy Blog

Preparation Is Key for Partners Selling Network Security Services

By Helda Lopes

Security, once purely an IT issue, has now catapulted into the board room, and we’re seeing purchasing decisions rise to the C-suite agenda. This shift is primarily driven by the recognition of top-level executives that, while security is an investment, the possible brand and financial ramifications of a breach are too great of a risk.

Interestingly, a study Juniper Networks developed with the RAND Corporation found that if the frequency of software vulnerabilities was reduced by half, the overall cost of cybersecurity to companies could decrease by 25 percent. That’s huge in terms of cost savings! At Juniper, we believe that the future of security will be driven by intelligent networks designed for the always-on digital world. Juniper is uniquely positioned to offer secure networks with its Software-Defined Secured Networks (SDSN) platform that unifies the perimeter by embedding advanced security technologies throughout the network infrastructure. Specifically, for partners this SDSN approach delivers the value of an integrated security solution and the ability to wrap their services around the solution. With this approach, partners now have the unique opportunity to cross-sell throughout the network versus solely selling security in the network.

Clearly, with security decisions moving up the stack, channel partners are increasingly playing a critical role in initiating new sales dialogs with top-level executives and delivering strong cloud security services. After all, they are the most familiar with the customer’s existing infrastructure, processes and policies. However, before jumping on the security bandwagon, channel partners must understand how to make network security services impactful and responsive to evolving regulations and business changes for customers, all while creating a steady revenue stream. But, where to begin?

Here are the top four best practices that partners must adopt to deliver meaningful security services:

  1. Think long-term: Instead of leading customer conversations with point products and speeds-and-feeds, partners can aim to orient discussions around solutions to their customers’ business problems. It’s imperative for partners to understand how adding security functionalities will fundamentally change their customers’ business outcome.
  2. Be a strategic business adviser: Since security is now seen as a business issue, channel partners have the opportunity to evolve from the role of salesperson to business adviser. This will allow partners to elevate their role as a strategic business. Partners need to offer customized counsel on how each customer can secure their network end-to-end.
  3. Stay ahead of trends: To truly serve as a business adviser and understand customer problems, partners need to double-down on staying fluent on emerging trends, tools available and training programs offered by vendors. Since the field is evolving so quickly, some customers may not have the bandwidth to stay up to date, and partners can add value by continuing to establish themselves as security experts. Continued training, education and incentives will ensure partners understand the growing implications of vulnerabilities and take real-time action.
  4. Drive cohesion: The security ecosystem brings traditionally autonomous products together into a single architecture, one designed to protect corporate data against threats to various components: core infrastructure (servers, networks, storage), remote devices, internet of things (IoT) and the cloud (private, hybrid and public). For example, Juniper’s SDSN platform and its ecosystem helps organizations unify security for these heterogeneous networks, giving customers a streamlined way to integrate products and manage their security operations, regardless of the vendors they choose.

Cyberattacks are on the minds of every executive as society’s dependence on the Internet continues to rise with innovations, such as the IoT and wearable technologies. This is new, unchartered territory for all parties involved, whether you’re the security buyer, the vendor or the channel partner that serves as the trusted advisor between the two. What’s clear is that open communication and collaboration strengthens the command and control that is needed to make it all work for the security vendors and their channel partners. Soon, smart channel partners will take on a key role as the intermediary between the customer and the providers involved in delivering the complete security solution.

So, don’t be shy about asking the hard questions.

Helda Lopes is Vice President, Global Partner Programs and Marketing, Juniper Networks.

Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly and are part of MSPmentor's annual platinum sponsorship.

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