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Exclusive: Time for reseller thought leadership in growth cybersecurity market

Duo is calling on resellers to step into more of a thought leadership position as demand for security soars across New Zealand business.

The specialist distributor – which has set its eyes on being New Zealand’s largest security distributor by the end of this year – is gearing up to launch a new cybersecurity sales boot camp for resellers in an effort to further drive awareness in the market.

Kendra Ross, Duo director and co-founder, says security is currently top of mind for most companies providing ‘a buoyant market with a lot of growth’ – driving Duo to an expected 40% to 50% year on year growth for the financial year closing this month.

However, Ross says security has been something of a cottage industry until recent times and, as such, lacked investment on the part of resellers.

“People have always been aware it’s an important market but the scale and growth has only been recognised in the last 24 months,” Ross says.

“Before that we were very niche, so I understand why resellers wouldn’t have invested skills and time in that space,” she says.

However, with the market rapidly growing globally, and demand rising from local businesses, Ross says the local security market now offers some real opportunities for resellers who increase their security skills and focus.

“What we hear a lot in the market is that the end user customers are the ones who are researching and coming up with solutions they think best fit them,” Ross says.

“A lot of partners have become procurement vehicles and really they should be the ones demonstrating the thought leadership, building the solution, doing the work and advising their clients,” she says.

“There is a real gap in that space in the market at the moment in cybersecurity.

“We are starting to see people upskilling in this space, but we’d like to see more in terms of them providing solutions back to customers.”

The cybersecurity boot camp for partners is expected to launch in the next couple of months and will be a broad sales program covering the pain points and conversations to have with customers, how to sell security and an awareness of the market in general.

“It’s not a networking conversation, it’s not an infrastructure conversation, it’s a risk conversation,” Ross says.

That requires resellers to move away from selling a product, to solution selling, she adds.

Ross says the boot camp will be in-person, to allow for conversation and questions.

“There’s a lot of online awareness training available now, but from a sales perspective to share the intelligence and lessons we’ve learned along the way and having a forum where we can engage, will be much more beneficial.”

Ross says in the wake of the alleged Russian hacking and manipulation of the United States election and with this being an election year for New Zealand, its important for New Zealanders to be aware of vulnerabilities in terms of elections and fake news.

“We have got a year where we really need to really build awareness around some of these topics and be working with government to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to a New Zealand election,” she says.

“We may be a small distant little speck, but we sit on the security council and have a role in world economic forum, and we need to be aware of the vulnerabilities.”

Ross is advocating more information sharing by vendors, distributors and resellers. “We need people to see the value in sharing intelligence and not see it as giving it to their competition, because that’s not the case – we’re looking for everyone to ensure New Zealand is a lot more secure.”

While upskilling partners is a focus for Duo in the coming months, the distributor itself will also be adding new resources, eyeing up an increase in pre-sales staff and potentially sales staff as well to enable it to continue the growth it is currently experiencing.

Ross says Duo will also be building out its portfolio this year, identifying new and emerging technologies and solutions as the market evolves and changes to fill gaps in its portfolio.

“The goal we have is to be New Zealand’s largest cybersecurity distributor by the end of this year, and we’re on track to achieve that,” Ross says.

And while the company has big plans for its own business, Ross says she’s also keen to see an industry association formed this year, with plans for such an organisation already underway.

The organisation would represent cybersecurity vendors, practitioners and companies in New Zealand.

“We think there is enough happening to warrant our own industry association and we think we need to have a voice to be talking to government and influencing and lobbying on behalf of our industry as well.”

A number of companies have already expressed interest in the body, Ross says. She says getting the industry association launched this year will be a key goal.

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