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January 26, 2021
More coverage of cyberattacks in the media likely will prompt an increase in cybersecurity spending this year. That’s according to new Untangle research.
Untangle’s Voice of the Channel and 2021 Predictions Report highlights feedback from the company’s global network of channel partners. The Untangle research focuses on channel trends and barriers partners face when protecting clients against emerging cybersecurity threats.
Budget constraints have been a key issue in previous years. However, partners now predict cybersecurity spending will significantly increase in 2021.
Other findings from the Untangle research include:
Partners saw the majority of their clients’ businesses moving to a remote workforce due to COVID-19. Furthermore, 75% say clients’ most requested security feature was VPN connectivity.
Partners expect at least half of their workforce to remain working remotely.
Partners year after year report the No. 1 threat to the channel is the employee who breaks security protocol.
Eighty-five percent of partners predict the cybersecurity part of their business will grow in 2021. Moreover, 69% report an increase in customer questions following the news of major cyberattacks throughout 2020.
Heather Paunet is Untangle’s senior vice president.
Untangle’s Heather Paunet
“The biggest surprise in the report is the increase in customer requests for VPN connectivity,” she said. “While we expected VPN connectivity to be a highly requested item in 2020 due to the pandemic, we did not expect it to be requested six times more than the next requested feature — endpoint security. Additionally, we were surprised to see that the majority of partners expect at least 50% of their customers to have employees working remotely — indefinitely. The pandemic has certainly increased the importance of services needed to support a remote workforce.”
In a year that saw a majority of organizations transitioning to a remote workforce, cyberattacks were also on the rise. However, while phishing, malware/virus and ransomware were among the top three types of cyberattacks partners’ customers were victims of in 2020, compared year-over-year, this is a downward trend compared to last year’s survey.
Both partners and their customers are more aware than ever of these types of cyberattacks. Furthermore, service providers offered them more advanced service portfolios to combat these threats.
“Partners have adapted quickly to the changing needs of customers,” Paunet said. “While 75% of the surveyed partners already offered VPN capability, the remaining 25% are planning on adding it to their offered services in 2021. Additionally, customers seem to be more aware of cybersecurity risks, as 68% of partners’ customers inquired about malware/ransomware protection following the news of a major cyberattack in 2020.”
Partners will be challenged to adjust their support for globally dispersed networks and end users, Paunet said.
“They will likely need to adopt new solutions into their portfolios to meet these needs, and that will require learning about new products and training staff to support these products,” she said. “Also, employees who do not follow rules is one of the biggest cybersecurity threats the channel will experience in 2021. Partners will need to continually train users on how to identify and avoid being a victim of a phishing or ransomware attack. This will be an ongoing issue, as we saw a dramatic spike in attacks related to current events, such as the pandemic in 2020.”
Untangle’s partners are uniquely capable of adapting to changes in customer’s needs, Paunet said. Many partners are small businesses themselves, and many faced the same needs as their customers.
“Their perspective and ability to relate to what their customers are facing gives them an advantage to quickly shift their offerings to meet the new demands,” she said. “Take the need for VPN connectivity. It is important to ensure the solution is not just secure, but that it is easy to use as well. If it just works, employees will keep their VPN turned on and thus improve their security.”
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