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Cisco security-channel lead tells partners to stop selling security (kind of)

Susan Don has an unusual message for the thousands of value-added resellers (VARs) and assorted other partners at Cisco’s Partner Summit in
Las Vegas this week: stop selling security.

As security lead for worldwide channels, Don’s job is to help those partners sell security products, so it’s a message likely to (designed to) make the 4,000 or so attendees sit up and take notice, despite their hangovers, Vegas-born regrets and toxic overdoses on smoke, blue lights and performing executives on the main stage. 

Her opening line is only an attention-getter, though. Her intent is to urge Cisco partners to sell security as part of every deal, not as a separate part that may or may not be included, depending on the situation. She won’t get much time on the main stage, but she hopes to go into more detail in breakout sessions later on.  

By including the appropriate parts of Cisco’s security product line in every pitch, Don said, Cisco partners will “change the competitive landscape” for Cisco’s other products by offering secure routing instead of routing, secure wireless instead of wireless. 

Other networking companies offer security with their products, or bundle other company’s security products with their own. How selling security as part of a wireless deal rather than as the security on top of a wireless deal isn’t entirely clear. No new products or incentives are involved at this point.  

Don’s effort right now is to get partners to stop looking at security as a separate, stovepiped practice like networking or managed services or unified communications.

Kevin Fogarty

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