Monthly Archives: February 2018

Why Strategic Alliances In The Security Industry Work – Charles Leaver

Written By Charles Leaver


Nobody can resolve cybersecurity alone. No single product business, no one provider, nobody can deal with the whole issue. To take on security needs cooperation between different players.

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

In some cases, those companies each have a specific best of breed component: one player concentrates on e-mail, others in crypto, others in interrupting the kill chain.

From the enterprise client’s viewpoint, efficient security requires putting together a set of tools and services into a working whole. Speaking from the suppliers’ point of view, reliable security requires tactical alliances. Sure, each supplier, whether making hardware, composing software applications, or offering services, has its own products and intellectual property. Nevertheless, all of us work much better when we work together, to enable integrations and make life easy for our resellers, our integrators- and that end consumer.

Paradoxically, not just can suppliers make more profit through tactical alliances, but end consumers will save money at the same time. Why? A number of reasons.

Customers do not lose their cash (and time) with solutions which have overlapping capabilities. Clients do not have to waste profits (and time) creating customized integrations. And consumers won’t lose profits (and time) attempting to debug systems that fight each other, such as by causing extra notifications or hard-to-find incompatibilities.

It’s the Trifecta – Products, Solutions, and Channels

All three work together to meet the requirements of the business consumer, as well as benefit the suppliers, who can concentrate on doing what they do best, relying on tactical alliances to develop complete services out of jigsaw puzzle pieces.

Usually speaking, those solutions require more than easy APIs – which is where strategic alliances are so important.

Think about the integration in between solutions (like a network hazard scanner or Ziften’s endpoint visibility options) and analytics services. End consumers don’t want to operate a dozen various control panels, and they do not wish to by hand correlate anomaly findings from a dozen different security tools. Strategic alliances between product vendors and analytics solutions – whether on-site or in the cloud – make sense for everyone. That includes for the channel, who can provide and support total options that are currently dialed in, already debugged, already documented, and will deal with the least fuss possible.

Or consider the integration of products and managed security services providers (MSSPs). They want to provide prospective clients pre-packaged options, ideally which can run in their multi-tenant clouds. That suggests that the items need to be scalable, with synergistic license terms. They must be well-integrated with the MSSP’s existing control panels and administrative control systems. And naturally, they need to feed into predictive analytics and incident response programs. The very best method to do that? Through tactical alliances, both horizontally with other product suppliers, and with major MSSPs too.

How about significant value add resellers (VAR)? VARs need products that are simple to understand, easy to support, and simple to include into existing security implementations. This makes new products more enticing, more economical, easier to install, much easier to support – and reinforce the VAR’s consumer relationships.

What do they try to find when contributing to their solution portfolio? New solutions that have strategic alliances with their existing solution offerings. If you do not dovetail in to the VAR’s portfolio partners, well, you most likely do not fit in.

2 Examples: Fortinet and Microsoft

Nobody can resolve cybersecurity alone, which includes giants like Fortinet and Microsoft.

Think About the Fortinet Fabric-Ready Partner Program, where innovation alliance partners integrate with the Fortinet Security Fabric by means of Fabric APIs and are able to actively collect and share information to improve risk intelligence, improve overall threat awareness, and broaden threat response from end to end. As Fortinet discusses in their Fortinet Fabric-Ready Partner Program Overview, “partner inclusion in the program signals to consumers and the industry as a whole that the partner has teamed up with Fortinet and leveraged the Fortinet Fabric APIs to establish confirmed, end-to-end security services.”

Likewise, Microsoft is pursuing a similar strategy with the Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection program. Microsoft recently chose only a few key partners into this security program, saying, “We have actually heard from our clients that they desire security and visibility into prospective threats on all their device platforms and we have actually turned to partners to help resolve this requirement. Windows Defender ATP provides security teams a single pane of glass for their endpoint security and now by teaming up with these partners, our consumers can extend their ATP service to their whole set up base.”

We’re the very first to admit: Ziften cannot resolve security alone. No one can. The best way forward for the security market is to move forward together, through strategic alliances bringing together product vendors, service companies, and the channel. That way, all of us win, suppliers, service companies, channel partners, and business consumers alike.