What are the challenges faced by buyers and sellers of cyber security solutions and how is this impacting Arcserve’s product offering and channel strategy? Technology Reseller finds out more from Vince Blackall
Arcserve’s VP EMEA Channel Sales Vince Blackall has seen a great deal of change in his 30-year career at companies like Kaminario, Pure Storage, Violin Memory, Dell Software, Commvault, Veritas and Computer Associates. He is now living through another period of change driven by growing cyber security threats, notably ransomware, and evolving customer buying habits in the mid-market/low enterprise sector where Arcserve operates.
Last year, the data protection provider surveyed 356 UK channel partners to find out more about their priorities. The results highlight two major trends currently impacting the reseller channel.
*1 Growing demand for solutions that go beyond cloud back-up to include all-inone backup, disaster recovery and threat prevention – 66% of channel partners surveyed rated solutions that combine data security and endpoint protection to detect and recover from ransomware as important or extremely important to end users, with 49% expecting an increase in sales for continuous or high availability solutions in the next 12 months. At the same time, greater use of the cloud is creating demand for multi-cloud solutions. As a result, 43% are evolving to deliver multi-cloud and cross-cloud backup and disaster recovery.
*2 The emergence of a new generation of buyers. IT buying decisions are increasingly being spread across organisations, with line of business (LOB) executives purchasing technology solutions independently of IT teams. About half of UK channel partners are adapting their marketing strategies to accommodate this shift (48%) and adopting a business outcome-based sales approach involving collaboration with both IT and LOB executives (52%).
For Vince Blackall, these findings are confirmatory, rather than surprising. “We already knew from talking to resellers, as I do pretty much every day, that the cloud, the protection of the cloud, the integration of clouds are challenges that resellers have to rise to,” he said.
“I worked for Veritas when it was acquired by Symantec in 2005 and the big thing then was that we were bringing together data management and data protection in the form of security. It never really worked, and those companies eventually went their separate ways. But that is exactly what customers are looking to do now – to protect backup environments from attack, from ransomware specifically. The coming together of cyber security and data management is real and something that people are looking to buy.”
Multi-platform Arcserve’s flagship product, Arcserve UDP (unified data protection), meets this demand by offering a multi-platform approach in a choice of configurations – on premise, in the cloud, on appliance or any permutation of the three.
“We offer back-up, back-up as a service, disaster recovery, disaster recovery as a service, email archiving, high availability, replication, all within the UDP framework and available on those platforms or permutations of those platforms. We back up locally to the cloud, from one cloud to another – it’s a very overarching technology,” explained Blackall.
He adds that to meet demand for all-in-one solutions, Arcserve is building on existing capabilities through industry partnerships with Nutanix (for back up of hyper converged environments on the Nutanix Mine platform) and Sophos, announced on September 24.
“Following our global OEM deal with Sophos, all Arcserve Appliances are powered by Sophos security software, specifically Intercept X. Resellers can now take the Arcserve Appliance products to their clients and say that not only do they offer all the aspects of UDP, but every piece of data going into that appliance, residing on the appliance and then eventually leaving the appliance is scanned for ransomware, and if any is found it is captured and killed. Our sales tagline is that we are creating a ransomware-free IT environment by the application of Sophos software on our server appliance.
“Arcserve is offering Sophos resellers the same discount and margin benefits as an Arcserve reseller if they join our programme and vice versa. It’s a nice coming together of two vendors with no competitive aspects to their product portfolios.”
Another way in which Arcserve is meeting demand for simplicity in procurement and on-going management is with changes to its licensing.
“Large companies with multiple locations, with different types of cloud, different types of platform would normally construct a Heath Robinson-like quote based around what their resources are, assuming they even know what they’ve got or where they’ve got it. We are offering one SKU, one licence, one price to deploy Arcserve software across an entire estate, regardless of how many servers, appliances, locations, clouds there are, giving resellers a very simple proposition and making it very, very simple for the client to buy and install,” explained Blackall.
“A lot of very large companies might have a bit of Commvault here, a bit of Arcserve there, some Veritas over here. It is a difficult thing to manage all those maintenance renewals, all those updates. What we are saying is for one price, deploy it across your entire estate. It is very cost effective and extremely simple to manage.”
Arcserve is backing up these changes by strengthening the support it provides the reseller community on which it relies for 100% of its sales.
“Arcserve has been in business for more than 30 years and has over 2,500 trading accounts across Europe,” explained Blackall. “I felt Arcserve, like a lot of companies I have worked with, were trying to manage too many resellers in too many countries, so I changed the profile of the partner account managers so that they now each have a maximum of 10 resellers that they work with to develop sales and marketing and investment plans.”
This, claims Blackall, will enable Arcserve to develop deeper relationships with its most committed resellers, leaving distributors and phone-based staff in Arcserve’s Barcelona office to support the broad mass of resellers.
“We’re backing our future on the depth and professionalism of our reseller relationships, rather than just supporting a distributor. We are trying to be more of a channel sales organisation than a channel marketing and light-touch organisation,” he said.