Security as a Service Accelerates at RSA Conference

As the RSA Conference kicks off today in San Francisco, much of the buzz involves security as a service. But here's the challenge: Nearly 80 percent of top managed services providers already offer some form of managed security to their customers, according to our third-annual MSPmentor 100 results. So where can MSPs go next with managed security? Here are some clues.

Sure, entrenched players like Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro have a range of SaaS and hosted options that frequently involve channel partners. But upstarts like Kaspersky Lab and Sophos are preparing more recurring revenue opportunities for MSPs. During a recent partner conference in the Dominican Republic, Kaspersky Lab's Nancy Reynolds offered some clues about the recurring revenue efforts. Plus, there was growing chatter about Kaspersky Lab potentially launching a small business SaaS or hosted security service later this year.

Meanwhile, Sophos starts its next fiscal year in April 2010. At that point, I think it's safe to expect Channel Chief Chris Doggett to pull back the curtain on the security company's plans for MSPs.

Also of note: Identity management services seem to be shifting to the cloud. It's safe to expect the Novell Cloud Security Service, still in beta mode, to grab some of the RSA Conference spotlight. And watch for partner moves involving Websense and Juniper Networks.

One other key trend I'll be exploring: Two-factor authentication. A few weeks ago, I questioned whether VARs and MSPs could set up their own two-factor authentication services (and recurring revenue) for small businesses. Since that time, a few readers have sent over examples of success. I plan to blog about them -- and other RSA Conference trends -- in the days ahead.

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