Trends in cyber crime show that, for resellers, security provision is becoming an inevitable requirement and to find a holistic security partner is to put their best foot forward.
So says Connectus CEO Roy Shelton (pictured) and Chief Information Security Officer Scott Taylor who point out that cyber protection is growing in demand across the world as threat levels continue to rise and the pressure for governance becomes ever greater. These threats are no longer isolated to Government departments or large corporates. All companies, including SMEs, are potential targets as they hold sensitive and valuable client and internal data. “The primary cybersecurity threats faced by SMEs are naivety and the ‘it won’t happen to me’ mentality,” commented Shelton. “Investment in preventative action is far cheaper than resolving a critical incident when it occurs. But the channel typically lacks detailed knowledge of audit and resolution.”
To help plug the channel’s skills gap Connectus runs cyber masterclasses for partners and provides support in pre-sales and engagement via its managed services capabilities which, says Taylor, helps to break down false perceptions of security services. “Our sector must work hard to lose the IT stereotype image, and demonstrate that good cybersecurity does not have to seriously impact business costs or manpower,” he stated. “Solutions must be more business-focused and integrated into the normal range of operations rather than seen as ‘money for old rope’ or technology sold purely because of fear. When both sides work together to develop a good understanding of the reality of the risks and the simple things that can be done to mitigate them, SMEs will perceive us not so much as an unnecessary cost, but as a business partner who has their back.”
In getting to this position, according to Shelton, it is important for resellers not to reinvent the wheel. “Embrace the growing number of managed services providers that have invested heavily in infrastructure, people, training and operational procedures with a channel-friendly wrap,” he urged. “Look for experience rather than just certifications. Good security service providers don’t scare their partners or customers into purchasing. They partner with them to help them understand the reality of the risk and how a business needs to operate, in doing so balancing risk against benefit and impact, leading to the best possible outcome for the service user. Security is not about a technology or product. Our approach includes a blend of people, process and technology which provides a holistic and ongoing preventative solution.”
Taylor underscored the strength of the human factor in implementing security measures. “The most important element of cyber and data security is what’s between the individual’s ears and how they apply it,” he added. “Problems are seldom solved by technology alone, which can be one of the biggest issues for resellers who have a vested interest in the sale. The needs of security are ever changing with new threats and risks appearing every day. The cyber criminal does not sleep, and targets the least point of resilience which may change during the working day, week or month. So look for a partner that is prepared to invest in the relationship and work with you and your team on an ongoing basis.”
The influence of technology in combating cyber threats will surely rise as the use of Artificial Intelligence and advanced data analytics comes to the fore over time. These innovations will identify abnormalities in the standard behaviour of users and computer systems which could indicate nefarious activity. “Moving beyond data analytics, and taking into account the increasing prevalence of users wanting to use their own devices, individuals will increasingly look to take control of, and centralise, their online identity for convenience and peace of mind,” added Taylor.
“This centralised identity can then be used as the basis of their access to an employer’s systems and information and can take their context (such as time of day, geographic location etc), the type of information they require and track precisely who is doing what to particular information where and when, which provides greater security for the business in terms of its information, and greater auditability in terms of proving any potential infractions of the rules.”
According to Shelton, this enables businesses to deploy straightforward data access management solutions which meet the requirements of customers, suppliers, regulatory compliance, the simplified detection of potential cyber attacks and the mitigation of their impact. “Tools such as these are currently in their infancy but by working with our partners up and down the supply chain they will evolve into highly secure and robust solutions which can deliver great capabilities and a more secure world at a much lower cost than previously possible,” he said. “Making it easier for resellers to sell and provision security will require a far more modular or layered approach to service delivery and a move towards micro services being assembled or combined into customer solution suites."