The vendor and channel implications of the Spectre and Meltdown processor design flaws are going to be felt for quite some time.
Last month, we highlighted Intel's standout example as a vendor that is keeping the lines of communication open with its channel partners, making sure they're informed, educated and know what to expect next. Thanks to a recent poll and reporting series by CRN, we now know how other vendors are doing and the direct impact solution providers are feeling from the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities.
CRN conducted an online poll of 190 members of the CRN Channel Intelligence Council, a panel of solution providers representing the broad channel ecosystem in North America. In the survey, solution providers ranked the vendor responses to the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerability issue on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the top mark, or "excellent."
In the survey, we've learned that solution providers are helping their customers navigate the Spectre and Meltdown patches and the required IT support that comes with them. But those companies also are forced to absorb the costs from the fallout.
CRN reported that about 54 percent of partners it surveyed are covering the Spectre and Meltdown mitigations through existing managed services contracts, while 29 percent are selling new managed services contracts. Up to 12 percent of partners said they are getting reimbursed from vendor partners.
The solution providers surveyed by CRN also gave Google the highest scores among cloud providers for its response and reaction to the Spectre and Meltdown exploits, beating Amazon Web Services and Microsoft. Partners said several times that Google has a security-first culture, with a deeply vested interest in not only looking for security issues inside its own house, but actively "hacking for good" to find other vulnerabilities, even keeping competitors safe. One partner told CRN: "It's almost unfortunate that the market doesn't understand how much emphasis Google puts internally on their approach to security."
CRN's survey also highlighted a big sales opportunity for the channel: Partners are expecting that security sales will jump in the aftermath of the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities. Nearly one-third of partners expect to see an increase of 1 percent to 9 percent in their security sales due to Spectre and Meltdown. Five percent of survey respondents expect the exploits to drive security sales increases of more than 20 percent over the next 12 months.
Vendors should fine-tune their security technology and marketing messages with the channel in mind during 2018, respondents said. If they streamline processes to make it as easy as possible for partners to move product and sell subscriptions, sales will follow—especially because security is a white-hot issue now and will remain that way for a long time to come.
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