Our global socio-economic infrastructures are at extreme risk with sophisticated and complex cyber and ransomware attacks in financial services, defense, life sciences, oil and gas, agriculture, and utilities. As a result of this dynamic, the market for cybersecurity solutions is at an all-time high and forecasted to grow. A recent report by Global Market Insights says that the global market for cybersecurity solutions was $170 billion in 2020 and forecasted to increase to $400 billion by 2027, a compounded annual growth rate of nearly 15%. Cybersecurity solutions providers need channel partners to help bring these solutions to market and deliver value to clients. Looking ahead to 2022, here are my predictions and trends for how the channel partner ecosystem will evolve in response to the huge market demand for cybersecurity solutions.
Partner Acquisitions Will Continue
As we saw in 2020 and 2021, acquisitions will continue in the partner and channel arena driven by efficiencies of scale, growing into new markets, building skills and intellectual property, and expanding solutions portfolios. For example, resellers want to build out proof of concepts lab infrastructures and technology practices that showcase vertical market solutions to help their customers implement the right scalable architectures – much like what many of the global system integrators and consulting partners already have in place today. Acquisitions of other reseller partners will be key to gaining that technical knowledge, professional services, lab infrastructures, which will increase the depth and breadth of an organization’s customer base and increase services margins.
Technology Partners Expanding Footprint with Integrations and Connectors
As partners focus on building out a robust partner ecosystem there will be an increased focus on building integrations. Integration partnerships hold the key to forming improved customer relationships and revenue growth. Our prediction is the overall investment in integrations and connectors will continue to rise in 2022. Especially in the cybersecurity software space, the importance of data sharing between products can make the difference in passing a security audit, preventing a breach, and the ability to build a strong cyber plan. Technology partners know that integrations will create a stronger position with their joint customers.
Security Opportunities in the Public & Private Sector Will Grow
In recent years, the U.S. Federal Government has adopted security parameters and assigned budgets to enable a safe government marketplace. Resellers will need to understand cybersecurity mandates and programs such as FedRAMP and StateRAMP, and others parameters to ensure they can offer the right cybersecurity solutions to enable their customers’ success. In 2022, state, regulated industries, and private sector will likely follow suit with similar governance for security best practices of the federal government bringing more sales opportunities to the table for partners.
Partners Will Double-Down on Skill-Building and Specialization Programs
Vendors will continue to require their partners to build out the skillset and specialization of their staff to get the maximum benefit of their go-to-market efforts and channel program. Motivation to participate in these skill-building initiatives may come in the form of an authorization to sell program, revenue percentage increase, or even access to marketing development funds. Cybersecurity is not like selling an external hard drive or a widget – cyber solutions become complex very quickly, and resellers must be up to the task. Professional services certifications (install and deployment) can be very lucrative for extra revenue wrapper. In 2022, vendors will limit which channel partners can get these certifications for their product offering based on a security practice that may already be in place, plus other specializations in vertical market governance solutions such as HIPAA, SOX, etc.
Cloud Can Deliver Margin
Data center agility, security and nimbleness delivered by the cloud will continue to be front and center. In 2022, more channel partners will diversify to offer cloud infrastructure services and some may become combined resellers/managed service providers. There are multiple reasons to move to this model:
- Flexibility to build out hybrid solutions (on-premises and cloud) to provide their customer choice and data center agility
- Build out SaaS solutions for diversification and subscription revenue
- Dual purpose infrastructure – leverage cloud infrastructures as proof of concept (POC) lab
The channel partner ecosystem will continue to grow in scale and increase in the value it delivers. As requirements of vendor channel programs increase, the expectation of benefits from channel partners will also increase. Both channel partners and vendors alike will need to work together to offer highly technical solutions, and as security governance grows, this partnership will require more resources, both in personnel and infrastructure.