May 14, 2021

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Email security is channel’s biggest focus for 2019

by Chris Ross, SVP International at Barracuda Networks, Thursday 13 June 2019

At Barracuda, we take pride in our ability to listen and react to what’s happening in the channel. With this in mind, when we headed to Marbella for our annual Discover partner conference last month, one of the things high up on our to-do list was to speak to our channel partners across the EMEA region to get their take on upcoming trends, where they see their focus for the next twelve months and their perception of end-user behaviour.

So what does the channel think? And does it match with what we’re hearing from end users? We took to the streets (metaphorically) to hear what our partners thought… Here’s what 264 of them said.

Security budgets and managed services are both on the rise

In terms of general trends, unsurprisingly it looks like security budgets are on the increase. Three quarters (75%) of the partners we spoke to think budgets are rising, with 26% saying they are doing so significantly. Combine this with the fact the channel doesn’t have a lot of confidence in customers’ ability to quickly remediate cyber attacks, and there’s a perfect storm of opportunity brewing. Just 3% think all their customers could remediate quickly after an attack.

Managed services are also on an upward trajectory, with over two-thirds offering managed services (71%) already, and 24% planning on offering this soon, leaving just 5% with no plans to offer it.

Email is the number one focus, with the channel acting as an early warning system

While we questioned partners on plenty of areas of their business, time and time again, email security came out on top as their biggest focus. 33% felt that email was end users’ biggest focus in 2018, followed by data protection (23%) and network security (19%). A fifth (20%) identified email security as their own focus for the next 12 months, with network security and data protection coming in next again.

It’s clear that the channel sees email security as an ongoing concern, something which largely emulates the opinion of end-users we’ve spoken to previously. The encouraging aspect is that channel organisations appear to be looking out for the best interests of their customers, sometimes when customers themselves are underplaying the threat:

80% think most attacks enter via email > 74% of end users told us the same 89% think the cost of email breaches is rising > 72% of end users told us this 90% of channel organisations said they were more concerned about email attacks than 5 years ago > 70% of end users felt this way

But the channel is being impersonated in email attacks

Brand impersonation attacks – where cybercriminals mimic familiar brands – are an issue we’ve been educating end users about for a long time, but our research suggests that the channel is also victim to this tactic. A third (35%) have had criminals impersonate them to target their customers, and almost half of the customers fell for it (16%). On the other hand, 57% have had criminals impersonating their customers. Fortunately only 9% of those were taken in. Could this new tactic have the potential to damage partners’ relationships? Cloud security is a big growth area

As more and more end users migrate to the cloud, understandably partners feel public cloud will be the largest growth area for their customers over the next year (21%). IoT security (19%) and email security are the next largest expected focus areas.

It’s clear that our new solution Cloud Security Guardian is addressing some very real concerns too around cloud compliance and visibility:

38% of channel organisations said that more than half of their customers have issues around ensuring their cloud environments stay compliant, due to the number of cloud apps/providers they use 51% said that the majority of their customers do not have complete visibility of the security of all their endpoints across their entire multi-cloud infrastructure A massive 88% of channel businesses were concerned about the rapid increase of customer mis-configurations that are causing security exposure, with 40% claiming to be very concerned There still seems to be a lot of uncertainty around cloud security too, with 16% of respondents feeling that on-premises environments are more secure than cloud. 54% think they offer the same level of security, but only when they are secured properly.

What is clear throughout all of these findings is just how much of an opportunity is available to the channel right now. If you have the right level of expertise, combination of solutions and the ability to help your customers solve their pain points, then you’re onto a winner…

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May, 2021

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