In the IT security sector, every new threat has seen new solutions emerge. Massive take up on products to protect networks has confirmed that the marketplace recognises these threats and will invest in network protection even at the expense of other IT projects. Individual solutions to address spam, web filtering, spyware, viruses and IM virtually all adopted cost per user models.
Cost per user was an obvious mechanism to licence new technology to users. It enabled the largest networks to be charged the mostand ensured a rapid return on investment. Investment was considerablewith firms not only launching solutions to new threats but also having the massive cost in ensuring the market was aware of the new threats to their organisation.
The best deal we were offered (by the original solution provider) at the time was 8/seat per annumso we were looking at 80,000 per year. With Bloxx, we have reduced our costs by over 80 per cent.
When is investment in protection protection money?
With a maturing market in which users are very well aware of threats to their networks and who in many cases, already invest in first generation solutions, the market is at last questioning the need to purchase on this basis. When you take the quantity of threats now faced by a typical network and multiply this by all the various cost per user charges, it is clear that clients are tying up swathes of IT budget to maintain security. The investment which has had to be made by the largest organisations really does hurtespecially if the large network user is an NHS Trust or local authority, for example.
The IT security marketplace is undergoing two fundamental changes:
1.Security threat convergence
A new generation of innovative solutions are reaching the market and the move to multi purpose appliance based solutions has gathered pace. Some software only solution providers are even adopting appliances as the simplest approach to IT security praise indeed! IT Managers now re-visiting the security marketplace are finding that as few as two plug-and-play appliances/providers are capable of addressing email/anti spam as well as web filtering, anti virus, anti spyware and instant messaging control. Integrated solution appliances work seamlessly with minimum administration, automated updatingand therefore demand less time from busy IT staff.
2.Price: It is an issue
Software solution providers are trying hard to retain cost per user chargeseven though they are often now promoting hardware solutions. Their shareholders, who saw vast initial losses as the IT security market established itself and who now want a sizeable return, will not easily tolerate price reductions equating to as much as 80 per cent over three years. Refusal to recognise market changes will in my view, result in some company failures.
As Mike Samphier, Projects Director at NHS Lothian commented (on replacing his first generation web filtering software with a Bloxx appliance) The best deal we were offered (by the original solution provider) at the time was 8/seat per annumso we were looking at 80,000 per year. With Bloxx, we have reduced our costs by over 80 per cent.
Good news for the channel
Bloxx (and products with similar values to Bloxx) presents the channel with an opportunity to be a white knight to your clients and potential clients. In your own customer accounts, you can illustrate the benefits of appliance based/no cost per user IT security before your clients find out for themselves. You have a prime opportunity to introduce effective security solutions to your competitors clients which underline the changing marketplace and your role as a forward thinking IT security solutions provider.
Any reseller who simply hopes their clients will not notice that cost per user is dying will lose sales fast!
Clear business benefits for clients, allied to strong reseller margins (which dont depend upon you signing your life away by guaranteeing your protector fixed monthly turnover) makes complete business sense.
Where the smart money is
Investing in a plethora of individual IT security products then asking your clients to spend their time managing them, while rewarding software authors with increasing cash sums as networks grow, isnt clever and clients no longer need to do it. Its time to encourage your clients to divert unnecessary IT spend on building businessesbut this time, their own! Make no mistakeany reseller who simply hopes their clients will not notice that cost per user is dying will lose sales fast!
Eamonn Doyle is MD of Bloxxa UK-based designer of appliance-based internet management devices that incorporate web filtering, anti spyware, anti virus, IM management, etc. Eamonn Doyle, their MD, examines the changes that multi function appliances combined with no cost per user charges will have on the reseller community.