Got security? You should if you're a storage services provider.
Storage vendors wasted no time jumping on the security bandwagon in our recent past, and we're beginning to see the fruits of some of those big spenders' labor. We've seen notable mergers among EMC with RSA Security and Network Intelligence, Sun with Neogent, and IBM with FileNet, Internet Security Systems and MRO Software.
According to a 2006 technology update from Boston Corporate Finance (BCF), the driving force behind these moves has been customer's interest in owning integrated product suites.
Customers need enterprise-wide data integration to eliminate the inequities among departmental data sets and access rights, and they need help addressing compliance burdens -- which coincide directly with their needs to be more efficient across the enterprise, according to Murray Beach, president of Boston-based BCF and its M&A International partner firm.
In previous research, BCF predicted continued consolidation in the enterprise content management space (ECM), specifically as customers have sought integration between unstructured data and business process automation -- a trend that prompted IBM's FileNet bid.
Enter the storage channel opportunity
"Storage as a hardware play is a non-starter. Though margins are fine and healthy, there's no way to grow the bottom line," Beach said, adding that growth lies with security: "Security is a fundamental part of the storage customer's needs as they look at storage requirements. They need to protect data."
Beach went on to identify three areas where acquisitions are being made, and where channel professionals should consider developing their solution and service offerings:
All of these solutions can be used to address customer information lifecycle management (ILM) needs: "There we are raising the bar a lot," Beach said, noting that companies need help monitoring usage and access to both data (i.e. financial numbers) and unstructured data (i.e. email messages) for compliance reporting.
"There's security in storage but there's also security around ILM. Especially when we get to guys like EMC vs. Seagate; there's a distinction to be made there," Beach said. EMC reinforced the importance of ILM security when it acquired Network Intelligence, according to the technology update.
EMC is the number one ECM and storage company; "IBM is on every radar" for storage, security and ECM; and Symantec is one of the largest security companies moving toward ECM, according to Beach.
"You have storage guys moving toward content and security, security guys moving toward storage and content guys being moved into both," he said.
As a channel professional which way will you move, or have you already? Send an email and let me know what storage security services or solutions you're offering and why.