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Channel partners rank scale and deliverability over product margins

Cato survey reveals SASE is becoming the go-to service model for the channel

Channel partners prefer scalability and deliverability over product margins when evaluating security vendors, new research from Cato has found.

The company’s latest survey, titled ‘Security or Performance: How do you Prioritize’, questioned 2,045 IT leaders and almost 1,000 channel partners around the world – including resellers, MSPs and master agents across the Americas, EMEA and APAC. 

It found that scalability (48%), ease of management (46%), ease of integration (41%), and the ability to deliver as a service (41%) were the top four factors for the channel when evaluating security vendors. Product margins ranked eigth with just 21%.

“Another way to put that is that the overhead of delivering appliances often outweigh the margins in selling them,” Cato explained. “This is just one indicator that the business argument for network appliances is being called into question.

“Appliances have always been about facilitating access to the datacenter, but over 70% of respondents agree or strongly agree that the datacenter is no longer the center of data and that most applications and data reside elsewhere.”

Security appliances themselves are also proving to be a source of security vulnerabilities, the firm added, creating brand and customer relationship issues for partners delivering the products. In fact, over 60% said that reselling security appliances has become a “risky business”.

However, the survey also revealed that 80% were in agreement that, for mid-sized enterprises, Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) now offers better security as the cloud-delivered service model is easier to manage and provides full visibility into network traffic.

With its ease of delivery and security improvements, the majority of those surveyed (84%) believe that SASE will become the preferred choice among customers. 70% said that customers are already considering it to simplify their network and lower their total cost of ownership. 

“Again, looking at the priorities for the channel - scalability, ease of management, ease of integration, the ability to deliver as service, and time to market - are all attributes of the cloud,” Cato continued. “It becomes much easier to profit from offering cloud services. 

“Delivering security and networking capabilities as cloud services then is increasingly important to partners, not only because of the impact it has on the customer’s business but because of the impact it has on their business.”

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