Tech Data Takes 8,000-Partner-Strong Security Practice Into New Frontiers

Tech Data's 8,000-partner-strong security practice has expanded beyond point products and into solution development and services with the $2.6 billion acquisition of Avnet Technology Solutions. Alex Ryals, vice president of security and networking at Clearwater, Fla.-based Tech Data, said the new capabilities include security assessment and product integration.

One Technology Solutions offering that's proven to be popular with Tech Data's legacy customer base is the security practice builder program, which Ryals said helps legacy server, storage, networking or software partners figure out how to effectively enter the security market. The program matches channel partners with the vendors best-aligned with their goals, provides them with the necessary authorization and training around those suppliers, and attaches ancillary services such as free and paid assessments.

Tech Data partners now also have more flexibility when it comes to managed security services, Ryals said. Prior to the acquisition, the distributor addressed managed security through CyberShark by Black Stratus, which he said is most appropriate for end users that either completely outsource their IT operations or have 50 or fewer employees.

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But solution providers with enterprise, midsize or larger SMB customers will benefit from the Recon managed service developed internally by Technology Solutions, which is delivered through its own security operations center and employees.

Tech Data's sales organization has been trained around the Recon service, Ryals said, and is now developing proofs of concept for the distributor's legacy partners. Recon has developed a good pipeline thanks to Tech Data's large partner base, the channel need for managed security services, and the challenge partners would face building such a service on their own, Ryals said.

Tech Data plans to accelerate development of multi-vendor bundled offerings to better meet the needs of its midsize and large customers, Ryals said. Those partners are typically looking for a best-of-breed offering in each component of security, he said, and will often have eight or more security products deployed at once.

Meanwhile, partners will beneĀ­fit from a much broader line card that now includes Fortinet, McAfee, Kaspersky Lab, Malwarebytes, Trend Micro and Webroot, Ryals said. That's in addition to the access they have to Check Point Software Technologies, IBM Security, RSA, VMware, Alert Logic, Cisco Security's software and Hewlett Packard Enterprise's software, Ryals said.

All of the Tech Data and Technology Solutions security resources have been fully integrated under Ryal. The divisions he oversees include a services organization that provides managed and billable consulting services; a solutions development group focused on building integrated offerings, assessments and multivendor solutions; a vendor management organization that handles quoting and security vendor lines; and a sales organization focused on partner training and sales capabilities.

Raymond Benoit, president of Bedford, N.H.-based Tech Data partner RTM Communications, said the Recon managed service program is very thorough. Between Recon and CyberShark, Benoit said RTM can bank on security-focused third parties to provide monitoring on the solution provider's behalf. RTM also wants to take advantage of additional security services such as complementary and paid assessments, according to Benoit.

"When there's mystery, there's margin, so there's a real reason for us to be in security," Benoit said. "If it wasn't mysterious, then the customers would do it themselves."

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