Sponsored: The trust imperative

To build a totally trusted digital world, choosing the right partners is critical.

01 November 2023

Anton Jacobsz, Managing Director, Exclusive Networks Africa.

As business, and the world in general, becomes digitalised, so cybercrime has escalated significantly and continues to develop new attack vectors. For example, ransomware continues to evolve, with 2023 seeing a resurgence of incidents. The costs of cybercrime have rocketed from $0.86 trillion in 2018 to $8.44 trillion in 2022, rising to a projected $23.82 trillion in 2027, according to Statista.

The pandemic and subsequent changes in working styles accelerated this shift. With more and more work being done outside of the corporate premises, the attack surfaces have increased exponentially, creating a whole new set of challenges for CIOs and CISOs, and the IT companies that work with them to address these complex cybersecurity challenges.

And yet, for this digitalising world to thrive, it needs to be widely trusted. As the threat landscape alters, business and society at large need to be confident that the security products protecting them are effective.

The pressure to earn that trust can be seen in the continuing increase in cybersecurity spend. In 2022, it reached $198 billion, with Canalys expecting the 2023 figure to be $224 billion, an increase of 13%.

What’s important here is that this massive increase in spending on cybersecurity is largely being assigned to emerging sectors such as cloud and application security (expected to show a compound annual growth rate of 25.1% and 23.2% respectively). The “old” sectors such as network security, infrastructure protection and identity access management continue to account for large spend, but show a lower growth rate.

Who you gonna call?

“Ultimately, all of these figures reflect a complex and rapidly evolving threat landscape, with new vendors, technologies and products emerging all the time. We estimate upwards of 3 000 products exist at present, and counting,” says Anton Jacobsz, Managing Director, Exclusive Networks Africa.

“It’s impossible for a CISO or CIO to monitor all this, and then make realistic investment decisions.” It’s this reality that lies behind Exclusive Networks’ position as the world’s leading specialist distributor of cybersecurity products.

“The cybersecurity ecosystem is rapidly evolving. In order to support our channel and, ultimately, its end-customers, properly, our role must be to identify the promising new technologies and strike relationships with the up-andcoming vendors in order to build the skills needed to take them to market successfully.”

For example, two of the top three security vendors based on revenue outlook, Palo Alto Networks and Fortinet, are represented by Exclusive Networks globally. In line with their positions as leaders in the new wave of security technologies like XDR (extended detection and response) and SASE (secure access service edge), these two vendors are showing growth rates in the region of 21-24%.

High growth ahead

Jacobsz says that Sub-Saharan Africa tends to lag EMEA by one to two years, so it seems likely that we have a period of strong growth in cybersecurity generally, and the newer technologies specifically, ahead of us.

“For CIOs and CISOs, the question is how to keep on top of the rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape; you don’t want to risk leaving a gap in your defences or making the wrong investment decisions,” he points out. “That’s why a specialist, knowledgeable distributor with the right OEM vendors, and strong, specialised channel partners, is crucial.”

Exclusive Networks has vendor partners that cover virtually every element. This is vital, says Jacobsz, in order to ensure that clients have the best protection, now and into the future.

One can conceptualise the security landscape as an evolution from on-premise solutions to a second generation (often characterised as “lift and shift”), which is roughly where we are now, to the emerging cloud-native security technologies.

“In that third evolutionary stage, we are seeing the emergence of a totally new set of vendors, and our global organisation is currently assessing many of them to ensure that we align our product sets and skills with the best of the current crop,” he says. “The end result for our channel partners and their customers is a genuine best-of-breed solution in a very complex area, in which it’s all too easy to make a misstep.”

Bridging the skills gap

It’s widely recognised that IT as a whole has a shortage of skills. A specialist distributor like Exclusive Networks has a key role to play by investing in the cutting-edge skills early on, so that they are available and can be transferred to channel partners and end-customers.

The company also sees the need to play a broader role in educating the whole channel ecosystem, which comprises a wide range of overlapping constituencies, such as consultancies, cyber-insurance providers, marketing agencies, accounting firms, technology vendors, and systems integrators, among others.

“Today and into the future, our increasingly digital economy and society will only work well if everybody trusts the platforms on which they transact and where their data is stored,” Jacobsz ends. “A skilled and up-to-date channel is essential in providing the solutions on which that trust is built, and behind that channel is Exclusive Networks.”

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