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Channel security needs focus, education support, event is told

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

Channel-Sec – 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, both with Telegraph blogger and cyber-threat author Jamie Bartlett’s revelations from the dark web, and with successful partner 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 while the education sector, where he is a major player, is not affected by any economic confidence issues, unlike many small businesses. But it takes a long process of engagement.

Earlier, in the first keynote, Jamie Bartlett had taken 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, with 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 – both 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.

A highlight was blockchain expert Igor Pejic, taking the audience through the technology at a high level, and working through the implications for IT more generally. Attendees received 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, and this was the reason why the likes of Amazon and Google had been investing heavily in it very recently.

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