With 2013 just around the corner, we felt it important to garner insight from our team on the evolving technology landscape in security, storage, cloud and virtualization – and then determine how this evolution will impact the channel community. Through discussions with our team of experts, we have identified five key industry trends that prove to be beneficial to partners and provide them with an infinite number of business opportunities in the coming year:
1. Cyber conflict becomes the new normal
In 2013 and beyond, conflicts between nations, organizations, and individuals will play a key role in the cyber world. Espionage can be successful and also easily deniable when conducted online. Nations or organized groups of individuals will continue to use cyber tactics in an attempt to damage or destroy the secure information or funds of its targets as well as impact grids, systems and infrastructure in general.
Additionally, we expect more attacks on individuals and non-government organizations, such as supporters of political issues and members of minority groups in conflict. This type of targeting is currently seen when hacktivist groups are aggravated by an individual or company.
Channel partners and service providers with customers of all sizes – public utilities, corporations, SMBs, etc. – should assist their customers in developing a comprehensive security strategy. This includes helping customers implement the most up-to-date security technology and educating them on the constantly evolving threat landscape (which includes cyber warfare and cyber conflict).
2. More Users Will Adopt Mobile and Cloud…Attackers Will Follow
Attackers will go where users go, so it should come as no surprise that mobile platforms and cloud services will be high-risk targets for attacks and breaches in 2013.
As unmanaged mobile devices and BYOD at companies of all sizes continue to enter and exit corporate networks, they pick up data and this info tends to become stored in other clouds, increasing the opportunity and risk for breaches and targeted attacks on mobile device data. Also, as users add applications to their phones they will pick up malware.
In 2013, mobile technology will continue to advance, thereby creating new opportunities for cybercriminals. One example: malware in use by criminals to hijack payment information from unsuspecting customers in a retail environment. Some payment systems are widely used by tech novices, both users and businesses, and may have vulnerabilities that expose sensitive information.
This trend underscores the need for channel partners to ensure that trusted, market-leading mobile and cloud solutions are part of their arsenal of security technology offered to customers. Additionally, Symantec’s Specialization program provides partners with the training and resources needed to demonstrate expertise in information security and mobile solutions (on prem or in the cloud) – this can be very beneficial in working with existing customers and growing your customer base while emphasizing the critical importance of strong security in mobile and cloud environments. The message for partners is this – just because your customers haven’t had to defend themselves against a targeted attack or breach yet, does not mean it won’t happen. It will. And as your customers continue to deploy cloud and mobile technology, the opportunities for an attack will also continue to increase; therefore, it is essential for partners to urge their customers to adopt a defense-in-depth strategy in order to maintain their security posture.
3. It’s All About the Software
Because of virtualization, software defined data centers will take on cloud computing to become the new industry buzz word. Most large enterprise data centers will evolve to software-defined data centers where IT services are separated and not dependent on the underlying hardware. Commodity hardware, appliances and cloud will become increasing reliant on smart software that will define and drive the future of data center computing.
The partner community can take advantage of this trend by ensuring they add best-in-breed software solutions to their portfolio to help their customers who are adopting virtualization. Many of these customers may have purchased inexpensive (i.e., cheap) hardware – it’s a commodity in the data center – and we at Symantec are not concerned with that. Rather, the importance here lies in the software. Software is what allows the hardware to run efficiently, effectively and intelligently (in any environment).
4. Backup-as-a-Service Will Serve as a Market Disruptor
Backup-as-a-Service (backup with intelligence baked in) will become a standard way of doing business. As information explosion continues to expand, backup appliances that combine source and target deduplication, backup software, replication, snapshots, security and cloud integration in a single appliance will also increase in deployment. The key trend lies in moving beyond target deduplication – as a company, Symantec has been very successful at this. Now, we plan to focus on the next phase – beyond deduplication – to ensure storage is smarter to meet these backup-as-a-service models. It is essential that our partners also look to all-in-one backup appliances to stay ahead of the ‘smarter storage’ trend their customers will be looking to capitalize on.
5. The 100% Virtualized SMB Becomes More Prevalent
Organizations of all sizes will evaluate and adopt multiple hypervisors into their virtualization and computing environments, as the market share of hypervisor vendors will begin to balance out between the largest vendors. This hypervisor diversity will cause specific hypervisor point tools to be ripped out and replaced by platforms with more capabilities that support multiple hypervisors, physical, virtual, snapshot and cloud-based infrastructures for backup, recovery and management. This will lead to more SMBs becoming 100 percent virtualized and using multiple hypervisors in both testing and production environments.
This trend is a game changer for partners. The potential for partners to be able to host entire companies by leveraging virtualization presents a huge market opportunity and will revolutionize how channel partners sell to SMBs, allowing for a major increase in business growth and profitability.
It’s clear from these trends that 2013 will prove to be a year of opportunities for the channel partner community – to expand your product offerings, grow your customer base and differentiate yourself from competitors. In 2013, Symantec will continue to deliver on its ongoing commitment to help partners achieve success – we look forward to a prosperous new year!