Security Industry Strategic Alliances Are The Way Forward – Chuck Leaver

Written By Chuck Leaver

 

Nobody can fix cybersecurity alone. No one product company, no single company, nobody can deal with the whole issue. To deal with security requires cooperation between various players.

Often, those companies are at various levels of the solution stack – some install on endpoints, some within applications, others within network routers, others at the telco or the cloud.

Sometimes, those companies each have a particular best of breed piece of the puzzle: one company specializes in email, others in crypto, others in disrupting the kill chain.

From the enterprise client’s perspective, reliable security needs putting together a set of tools and services into a working whole. Speaking from the suppliers’ point of view, effective security requires tactical alliances. Sure, each vendor, whether making hardware, composing software, or using services, has its own products and intellectual property. Nevertheless, we all work better when we interact, to enable integrations and make life easy for our resellers, our integrators- and the end customer.

Paradoxically, not just can suppliers make more money through strategic alliances, however end clients will conserve money at the same time. Why? A number of reasons.

Consumers do not lose their money (and time) with solutions which have overlapping capabilities. Consumers do not need to waste profits (and time) developing custom integrations. And customers won’t squander money (and time) trying to debug systems that battle each other, such as by causing extra alerts or hard to find incompatibilities.

The Ultimate Trifecta – Products, Services, and Channels

All 3 work together to satisfy the requirements of the business customer, and also benefit the vendors, who can focus on doing exactly what they do best, trusting strategic alliances to produce total solutions from jigsaw puzzle pieces.

Typically speaking, those solutions require more than basic APIs – which is where strategic alliances come in.

Think about the integration between products (like a network threat scanner or Ziften’s endpoint visibility options) and analytics options. End consumers do not want to operate a whole load of different control panels, and they don’t wish to manually associate anomaly findings from a lot of different security tools. Strategic alliances in between solution suppliers and analytics services – whether on-site or in the cloud – make good sense for everyone. That consists of for the channel, who can use and support complete services that are currently dialed in, currently debugged, currently documented, and will work with the least hassle possible.

Or consider the integration of solutions and managed security services providers (MSSPs). They want to use prospective customers pre-packaged services, preferably which can operate in their multi-tenant clouds. That suggests that the items must be scalable, with synergistic license terms. They should be well-integrated with the MSSP’s existing control panels and administrative control systems. And of course, they need to feed into predictive analytics and event response programs. The very best way to do that? Through strategic alliances, both horizontally with other product vendors, and with major MSSPs too.

How about major value add resellers (VAR)? VARs require products that are simple to understand, easy to support, and simple to include into existing security implementations. This makes new solutions more attractive, more cost effective, much easier to install, simpler to support – and reinforce the VAR’s client relationships.

What do they search for when contributing to their product portfolio? Brand-new solutions that have tactical alliances with their existing product offerings. If you don’t dovetail in to the VAR’s portfolio partners, well, you probably do not dovetail.

2 Examples: Fortinet and Microsoft

Nobody can solve cybersecurity alone, and that includes giants like Fortinet and Microsoft.

Consider the Fortinet Fabric-Ready Partner Program, where innovation alliance partners integrate with the Fortinet Security Fabric through Fabric APIs and are able to actively collect and share information to enhance hazard intelligence, enhance total risk awareness, and widen threat response from end to end. As Fortinet discusses in their Fortinet Fabric-Ready Partner Program Overview, “partner addition in the program signals to clients and the industry as a whole that the partner has worked together with Fortinet and leveraged the Fortinet Fabric APIs to establish confirmed, end-to-end security options.”

Likewise, Microsoft is pursuing a comparable technique with the Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection program. Microsoft recently picked just a couple of key partners into this security program, saying, “We have actually spoken with our clients that they desire defense and visibility into potential risks on all of their device platforms and we have actually relied on partners to assist address this need. Windows Defender ATP provides security teams a single pane of glass for their endpoint security and now by collaborating with these partners, our consumers can extend their ATP service to their whole set up base.”

We’re the first to admit: Ziften cannot solve security alone. Nobody can. The best way forward for the security market is to progress together, through strategic alliances uniting product vendors, service providers, and the channel. That way, we all win, vendors, service companies, channel partners, and business customers alike.