Canalys pinpoints traits of fast-growth cybersecurity partners


Canalys can reveal the top traits of fast-growing cybersecurity partners, as uncovered by an assessment of cybersecurity partner capabilities run in conjunction with Trend Micro and Tech Data and powered by the Canalys Alys platform.

Eight of the most common characteristics of successful cybersecurity partners were unearthed through Cybersecurity 360, an online cybersecurity skills assessment. These traits included running a dedicated cybersecurity practice, having a focus on managed services and demonstrating the ability to sell to senior leadership within client organizations.

Canalys developed Alys to address a recognized issue among vendors to identify maturity and skills within their partner community. Channel-centric vendors acknowledge that a successful partner strategy is not necessarily about having the greatest number of partners, but about understanding the capability of partners to deliver the best customer outcomes. Alys gives vendors a lens to focus on the capabilities within their partner channel.

“Our goal was to understand the different strengths and weaknesses of partners engaged in the business of cybersecurity, and to help partners identify areas for improvement,” said Canalys Vice President Alex Smith. “Cybersecurity skills in the channel are in high demand and hard to find.”

Through this initial phase of the assessment, key common traits of leading cybersecurity partners were identified. These are the partners that scored highly in the assessment, and furthermore, are seeing their cybersecurity business grow in double digits, outpacing the overall market, which grew 10% in 2020.

There were eight other common traits seen across this exclusive group of Cybersecurity Leaders:

Cybersecurity leader traits

1. Offer a comprehensive suite of cybersecurity technologies

2. Is dedicated, or have a dedicated division focused on security

3. Primarily sell to senior leadership within client base

4. Possess a deep understanding of customers’ IT environments

5. Can design and implement cybersecurity policies for clients

6. Provide a full suite of managed services

7. Operate a Security Operations Center

8. Currently recruiting to support cybersecurity practice

One of the most common traits seen in this group is that they offer a comprehensive suite of cybersecurity technologies. Endpoint and network security were the most common technologies sold by the channel, but leading cybersecurity partners had offerings spanning multiple areas, including identify management and cloud protection. “The fastest growing areas in cybersecurity include cloud security; identity and access management; security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) solutions; and endpoint and mobile security. Much of this need has been driven by the move to hybrid working and the need to secure networks to support this move.” said David Ellis, Vice President Mobility and Security, Tech Data – Europe.

Another important trait was a partner’s ability to sell to senior-level executives within their customer base. “We are increasingly seeing cybersecurity become a board-level issue, especially as partners develop their managed security services portfolios,” said Gary O’Connell, European MSP Director, Trend Micro. “It is important that our MSP partners are focused on selling to C-level executives where possible as ultimately it will be their responsibility if a breach occurs.”

In this Cybersecurity 360 Alys assessment which was completed by 208 partners with cybersecurity practices, other common traits were identified, from managed services practices to implementing cybersecurity policies.