Telarus Cybersecurity Assessment Software Latest in TSB Tools Arms RaceTelarus Cybersecurity Assessment Software Latest in TSB Tools Arms Race
Telarus put significant funding in to the project and will be updating it with new modules throughout the year.
May 17, 2022
Telarus unveiled a cybersecurity assessment resource as the first of a series of white-labeled engineering tools for partners.
The Utah-based technology solutions brokerage on Tuesday announced the SolutionVue suite and its Cybersecurity Quick Solution Assessment (QSA) module. Partners use the tool to query customer prospects with responsive questions about their cybersecurity posture. The tool generates a recommended action plan outlining best practices and potential vendor fits.
Telarus will be adding modules in six other categories by the end of the year in addition to cybersecurity: network, UCaaS, CCaaS, cloud, IoT and miscellaneous. SolutionVue marks a return to customer-facing software from Telarus, which launched as a software company in 2002. And Telarus executives say the cybersecurity assessment tool will help partners position themselves as consultative sources for their clients.
Telarus’ Patrick Oborn
“It’s a tool they use to not only get really good information and have conversations in areas where they might not have felt comfortable prior. But to actually have a guided sales process where they don’t have to shy away from the cybersecurity conversation anymore,” Telarus chief operating officer Patrick Oborn told Channel Futures.
The Channel and Security
Many partner firms in the technology advisory space have been attempting to adopt cybersecurity to their sales portfolio. But for many of them, the learning curve is steep. Oborn said many agents started their businesses with a specialization in long distance or network. Despite attending a myriad of cybersecurity trainings from vendors and TSBs, many partners lack confidence when the rubber meets the road, Oborn said.
Telarus’ Adam Edwards
“We’ve found that many advisors struggle to find the right words and questions to pose to a client when they’re addressing a technology solution that they don’t have a great deal of experience selling,” Telarus CEO Adam Edwards said.
Jerry Goldman, CEO of Select Communications, said inexperience and a lack of confidence have held partners back from engaging in cybersecurity conversations with clients. They could be intimidated about talking to an IT person who knows more about cybersecurity than them. They could also be dealing with a client who knows nothing and completely relies on them for knowledge.
Select Communications’ Jerry Goldman
“[SolutionVue] takes a conversation that was very uncomfortable to have for our sales team and makes it makes it not only comfortable, but makes us sound like experts,” Goldman told Channel Futures. “If I’m working at a large company, and I’m going to engage a trusted advisor or consultant, they better know what they’re talking about.”
Starting with the Customer
Moreover, Oborn said the tool lets partners take a customer-focused, rather than vendor-focused approach to sales. The intake form queries customers about their regulatory context as well as their current approach to protecting their network, data and employees. The tool produces a word document that provides multiple recommendations for the client.
The output document also provides a list of vendors that meet criteria provided by the customer. Goldman said this feature saves the partner time in weeding out…… the vendors that are non-starters. That saves his team critical time, he said.
“Once completed, we have a list of suppliers that are basically vetted through Telarus support engineers in the background through this process,” Goldman said.
On the other hand, if the customer or partner went directly to the vendor for an assessment, the vendor might provide a list of technology recommendations based on what it provides, rather than what the customer actually needs.
“In essence, [the QSA] takes the best interest of the supplier out of the equation and focuses the best interest of the customer, irrespective of what they’ve done or who they’re talking to or who’s going to make a commission on it,” Oborn said.
A Strategic Partner
Oborn noted that many of these recommendations are not commissionable, including how to set up admin policy passwords. Yet this comprehensive discovery of the customer’s security environment positions the partner as a consultant.
“We’ve been finding that in some of the bigger accounts our people aren’t competing against direct or other channel partners. They’re competing against the major consultants out there,” Oborn said. “How do you kind of go to battle against them? Well, you pull out tools that those folks don’t have.”
Many agents have historically functioned as procurement partners, whose deals started when customers came to them asking for a particular technology. However, selling cybersecurity requires that the agent take a more preemptive and strategic role in advising the client.
“Solving the obvious problem is fine, and that’s important to our customers,” Goldman said. “But if we can ask them some harder questions about things they may not have considered, we sure build lot more value and become an important partner to them, versus just a problem-solver for something obvious like a new phone system.”
The TSB Arms Race
Oborn said Telarus is looking to set itself apart from other customer-facing tools from TSB. He said other software exists in the industry, but he said those are known for comparing one vendor to another, rather than evaluating the customer’s environment.
And Goldman agreed.
“Everyone claims to have the best of the best. But in this case, I think Telarus really built something special because they are addressing several pieces,” he said.
Goldman said a partner firm like his benefits immensely from customer-facing tools. The TSB tools help the agency train new employees. Goldman said he is bringing on 10 more sales reps in the next year and a half.
“These reps have to be trained in areas of cybersecurity, UCaaS, CCaaS, connectivity and cloud. It’s not simple. So these tools become absolutely critical for training. And also for some kind of assurance that everyone is having the same conversations,” he said.
Goldman, a former EMT and Webex rep, founded Select in 2006 as a sales agency for conferencing solutions. After building a $4 million company in the conferencing space, Goldman’s team pivoted to UCaaS. He called this a natural transition.
“The conferencing products had tucked themselves into UCaaS services through desktop sharing, video conferencing and so on,” he told Channel Futures.
But Goldman eventually saw that his firm needed to evolve beyond UCaaS. In particular, he felt that the team needed to adopt cybersecurity services. Thus began what he described as a difficult yet worthwhile phase of growth.
“What we realized was, our customers wanted to talk about a lot more. If you’re going to position yourself as someone who can help advise them with their IT needs and cybersecurity is not part of the conversation, you’re instantly going to lose credibility. You have to be able to have the conversation,” he said.
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