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Channel Forecast: Services driven by the need for network security

An increasing need for intrusion protection and network security expertise will keep services alive in 2007.

I can't believe 2006 is almost done, and we're ready for those 2007 annual predictions. What will 2007 have in store for channel professionals who specialize in networks? I predict the need for increased network security capabilities and services.

More than any other time, 2007 will focus more clearly on security and the prevention of intrusions. Anyone that has come across malware, spyware, worms, viruses and other maladies, knows what I'm talking about. Despite the constant development of sophisticated software tools to prevent intrusions, hackers and evil-types that like to throw junk on networks and PCs are also becoming more sophisticated and more onerous every day. In 2007, VARs, systems integrators and consultants will need to focus their efforts much more on how to help the corporate enterprise prevent intrusions. And that help must extend beyond software-based offerings to include value-added services. It will be that much more important for you to get your staff certified on solutions that will enable your engineers to teach corporate IT staff how to alleviate problems.

In fact, services in general will become a hot commodity in 2007. Anyone can buy the latest and greatest software package or firewall. The trick is configuring it in such a way to optimize all of its capabilities. For example, in a distant life, I purchased a very sophisticated 20k hardware-based firewall solution that was not cheap. Several months later, we found that no one had bothered configuring it because we didn't have the internal talent. Eventually, we configured a $300 Linux workstation to do the job. It could do the job, because we had an engineer that knew what to configure. Business partners that can provide enhanced support and services will always be in demand, while the box-pushers that sell software and hardware for cut-throat prices will be hard-pressed to offer the added value necessary to close the deal. At some point in time, all IT departments have decisions to make with respect to the budget. The smart IT manager will always look to establish a partnership with a channel company that can provide the services where needed at a decent price, rather then just looking for the cheapest price. At the same time, smart channel professionals will recognize this and play their cards accordingly.

About the author
Ken Milberg is the founder of Unix-Linux Solutions. He is also a board member of Unigroup of NY, the oldest Unix users group in NYC. Ken regularly answers user questions on Unix and Linux interoperability issues as a site expert on As a frequent contributor to, Ken often addresses networking channel issues.

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