Safe clouds mean more profits for the channel

When Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) launched its Safe Clouds initiative last week, it did so with the notion that it did not matter what level of cloud knowledge or expertise the channel had.

According to Dave Elliott, Symantec’s senior product marketing manager, global cloud marketing, the vendor was going to offer the channel partner profitability models, new products and direct to help them deliver solutions that keep customer data secure, available and backed-up in the cloud.

Elliott outlined a four pillar strategy for the channel that focuses on sales, management, hosting and building safe clouds.

In the Sell portion of the strategy, Symantec’s goal is to enhance customer confidence in solution providers offering cloud services. This area of the strategy would include recurring revenue models that increase margins for channel partners from the company.

In the Manage area, new products would expand a solution provider’s managed services. Again, this area would provide monthly recurring revenue models.

In Host, Symantec wants partners to deliver highly protected and reliable solution-as-a-service offerings based on its portfolio of security, backup, and storage technologies.

Finally, in the Build section, Symantec is giving solution providers product and service options to encourage cross-selling opportunities and increase deal size in private or public cloud infrastructures.

“Despite enemy nation states, for profit hackers, and the overall increase in the threat landscape, Symantec believes the future of the cloud will be safe,” he said.

Here’s how Symantec determined the future of the cloud will be safe:

* In the future, there will be many clouds. These clouds will increase productivity and collaboration and will be built into the foundation. It will be granular and open. Apps will be integrated across clouds and endpoints will be just cloud things, Symantec said.

* Now the Service Level Agreements (SLA) will also be granular and flexible.

* Compare that to today’s cloud environments where you see one off clouds, experimentation, security as an afterthought, the IT departments being more reactive, limited visibility and it bring many inhibitors.

Elliott added that today’s apps are too isolated and function separately from the cloud. SLAs are too uneven and inflexible, while traditional hosted services are off-site.

“Symantec has a point of view on the future of the cloud. We have a seat at the table and are specialty is protection,” he said.

Symantec brought together what so and so called “big thinkers from the company, its Veritas division, experts with VeriSign and independent hosted service providers to come up with this vision.

The channel opportunity with the future cloud is huge, he added. Symantec did a research study that asked 3,400 IT end users who prepared they are with security in the cloud. More than half of those respondent said they were not prepared at all. “This creates an incredible opportunity for the channel with fewer than one in four organizations that have cloud experience.”

With its Safe Cloud initiative, Symantec created new training programs to help fill the skills gap. One of the biggest obstacles to this safe cloud initiative is that the cloud providers need to step up in providing protection.

Elliott said some are doing a tremendous job but others are not. “You can’t outsource your security even if you are a cloud provider. It is still, at the end of the day, your responsibility to be safe,” he said.

Elliott encouraged customers and partners to go the extra mile of due diligence with cloud providers to make sure they have the right SLA, for example. “You can’t advocate the responsibility as you move to the cloud.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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