Murali Urs, Country Manager – India, Barracuda Networks, shares the company’s channel strategies for 2019
Key highlights 2018 and opportunities for 2019
- Internet of Things: With the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) there has been a surge in the number and variety of devices being connected to the internet. And while IoT has tremendous benefits to users, it also gives cybercriminals a target-rich environment. According to Forbes report, the global IoT market will grow from US$ 157 billion in 2016 to US$ 457 billion by 2020, a compound annual growth rate of 28.5 per cent. This rapid growth makes managing and securing IoT devices a huge challenge to all organisations.
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Artificial Intelligence (AI) has evolved as one of the most transformative technologies in past years. Gartner predicts that the global AI-derived business value will reach nearly US$3.9 trillion by 2022. However, the technology has its own merits and demerits where AI can be used by businesses to identify and protect against threats, on the other hand, it can also be used by hackers to launch increasingly sophisticated and large-scale attacks.
- Cloud-based security: With a large portion of organisations migrating to cloud systems, cloud-based security might just be the biggest cybersecurity trend to watch in 2019. Apart from the security factor, cloud-based cybersecurity systems also offer faster deployment and scalable solutions that support various business needs.
Top tech trends for channel community
2018 has witnessed the adoption of the new technologies with AI, ML and IoT dominating the sector. AI represents both an opportunity and a threat to the industry, it helps by detecting signs of malicious intent and deception within every email with virtually no IT administration required. On the other hand, hackers can also leverage AI to launch increasingly sophisticated and large-scale attacks.
We have registered authorized, preferred and premier categories of channel partners – each one has to be a registered partner. Following registration, they decide on what kind of commitments both of us need to give each other, then we decide where the partner fits in. The premier is highest category of partners with a larger target and larger commitment from their side as well as from our side; whereas, the preferred have lesser target. The qualification criterion from a technical standpoint is lower than premier – the number of people need to be certified, sales officials and technical officers. We have close to around 70 partners, but focus-wise there are around 20 to 25 partners we engage with consistently.
They bring in opportunities, they open their account list, then we plan call out days with them. We also do EDM blasts with them. We put significant efforts to generate joint opportunities and leads for all these partners. We do customer events, market development fund contribution for their marketing activities, which helps them have an event together and position our technologies for their customer base. The partners find a huge attached rate with Barracuda primarily because we have that sort of products. It’s not that we give one technology and just walk away; Barracuda always gives an opportunity for them to sell more to the same customer.
With ransomware, phishing and zero-hour attacks are bound to increase, we expect email security, network and application, and data protection to be a top priority for organisations in 2019.
We strongly believe that in 2019, technology will take a significant leap forward, by taking a more advanced approach towards threats and vulnerabilities and the sector will continue to explore new ways to improve existing solutions while closing gaps exposed by the biggest vulnerabilities facing us today.
Channel directions for partners
The top directions for our channel partners are around the solutions for O365 and security solutions for the public cloud. This automatically opens doors for partners to work with customers for SD WAN solutions.
With increasing penetration of the cloud, partners will need to invest and align towards selling solutions around the cloud platforms.
Partners will have to either partner with the platform vendors or work with OEMs like Barracuda to sell solutions around the cloud usage. With Barracuda being one of the top security and data protection solution provider for O365 and the public cloud, partners should align with Barracuda and also invest in getting their sales and technically trained on our products, which will help them penetrate deeper into existing customers and open doors in newer customers and markets.