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Channel security needs focus on deliverables and education

March 2019 by Marc Jacob

The security stance is set, but there is still a major education job to be done, not just on users, but also on keeping the channel up-to-date on both market opportunities and more sophisticated and more easily managed solutions for their customers.

Channel-Sec 2019, the security event for the channel, heard from experts in security of all types – from blockchain to phishing avoidance, from the dark web to government strategies and selling to the public sector. Examples were kept very real including Telegraph blogger and cyber-threat author Jamie Bartlett’s revealing secrets from the dark web and successful MSP Circle IT’s CEO, Roger Harry, talking about how his firm sells security. He revealed a key move was to set up his team with managers for specific customer levels. He told the audience that the education sector, where he is a major player, is not affected by current economic confidence issues, unlike many small businesses, but takes a long process of engagement.

In the opening keynote, Jamie Bartlett took the audience on a journey through the dark web, advising that such things were very much better left to the experts, given the pitfalls and nature of the environment. It is as well that the IT industry knows what is out there, all the better to advise their customers, but the professionalism of the bad guys, within their marketplaces, is a troubling indication of problems to come for the unwary.

Platinum sponsor Datto also talked about rising threats and finding better solutions, and it was clear from discussions afterwards that many partners are looking for efficiencies in security, particularly where MSPs are becoming a target. Infect one MSP, and you get access to possibly hundreds of business, says Datto business development director Chris Tate.

Veteran Dave Ellis, VP mobile and security at distributor Tech Data, highlighted the fragmented nature of the industry among vendors, solutions and channels; trying to connect the parts together. It is not helped, Talal Rajab from techUK told the conference in the next keynote, by there being little joined-up strategic thinking at government level. With its next five year cybersecurity plan only 18 months away, it has not managed to deliver against its targets for the last one, the government security specialist told the audience.

Another highlight was blockchain expert Igor Pejic, taking the audience through the technology of blockchain at a high level and working through the implications for IT more generally. Conference attendees were presented with a free copy of his FT book of the month “Blockchain Babel”, which is being praised for its insights by reviewers. He said that the technology had the capability to transform financial transactions across many industries and this was the reason why the likes of Amazon and Google had been investing heavily in it recently.

The concluding speaker panel for the day underlined the need for further education, reasoning that while most of the actual security issues were well understood and would probably not change before the next annual Channel-Sec event, there was a lot the channel, and MSPs/MSSPs in particular could do to educate themselves and their customers. Channel-Sec at least started the process with many attendees indicating the value of the range of perspectives and solutions being discussed.




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