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Canalys highlights top traits of fast-growing cyber security partners

The research assessed 208 partners on their cyber security capabilities to pinpoint the most common characteristics

Security illustration with red padlock

Global analysis firm Canalys has revealed the traits that distinguish the top cyber security companies from the competition.

The research, run in conjunction with Trend Micro and Tech Data and powered by the Canalys Alys platform, assessed 208 partners on their cyber security capabilities to pinpoint the most common characteristics. 

Unearthed through online skills assessment tool Cybersecurity 360, these traits were found to include: running a dedicated cyber security practice, having a focus on managed services, as well as demonstrating the ability to sell to senior leadership within client organisations. 

“Our goal was to understand the different strengths and weaknesses of partners engaged in the business of cyber security, and to help partners identify areas for improvement,” explained Alex Smith, Canalys vice president. “Cyber security skills in the channel are in high demand and hard to find.”

The assessment covered four major categories to analyse organisation performance: ‘threat hunter’, ‘trusted advisor’, ‘security focus’ and ‘managed security’. Each category included six questions for partners to rate their security practices.

Trusted advisor came out on top at 66%, followed by managed security (59%), security focus (58%), and threat hunter (52%). 

Through this phase of the assessment, the key common traits were identified for partners seeing their business grow in double digits and outpace the overall market. 

One of the most common traits was offering a comprehensive suite of cyber security technologies, Canalys said. Endpoint and network security were the most common technology sold by the channel, but leading partners had offerings spanning multiple areas – such as identity management and cloud protection.

“The fastest growing areas in cyber security include cloud security; identity and access management; security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) solutions; and endpoint and mobile security.” said David Ellis, vice president of Mobility and Security at Tech Data Europe. 

“Much of this need has been driven by the move to hybrid working and the need to secure networks to support this move.”

Other common traits across this group included: being dedicated or having a dedicated security division, possessing a deep understanding of customers’ IT environments, and having the ability to design and implement cybersecurity policies for clients. Offering a full suite of managed services was also highlighted, as too was operating a Security Operations Centre and recruiting to support cyber security practice.

The ability to sell to senior-level executives within their customer base is also particularly crucial, the research found.

“We are increasingly seeing cybersecurity become a board-level issue, especially as partners develop their managed security services portfolios,” commented Gary O’Connell, European MSP director at Trend Micro. 

“It is important that our MSP partners are focused on selling to C-level executives where possible as ultimately it will be their responsibility if a breach occurs.”

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