Cloud, mobility is a big play for Entrust Datacard channels: Kathleen Phillips

By Yogesh Gupta Mar 27th 2017
Cloud, mobility is a big play for Entrust Datacard channels: Kathleen Phillips

Cloud, mobile and IoT are modifying organizations’ security posture, says Kathleen Phillips, Global Channel Chief of Entrust Datacard.

Entrust Datacard encompasses a huge portfolio of authentication, certificates, PKI, payments and other security solutions for organisations. CSO India in an exclusive interaction spoke to Kathleen Phillips, VP-Global Channel Strategy & Operations, Entrust Datacard during her India visit, on the company’s product roadmap, channel blueprint and the security landscape.

Edited Excerpts.


What technology trends will accelerate the market for technology providers like Entrust Datacard?


From security perspective, the technology trends span across platforms of cloud, mobile and IoT. Entrust Datacard a pioneer in PKI space were the first certificate authority to issue commercially available PKI that was launched in 1994. We continue to weather the storm as PKI has been through its ups and downs from the earlier smart cards, hard tokens and now moving to digital. Today PKI market is on the upward trend as we have tremendous amount of business in government - federal or state, large enterprises and financial institutions.


Entrust Datacard recently developed a cloud platform for authentication besides managed PKI platform on cloud since a long time. Cloud will continue to accelerate our growth. And lastly IoT is an emergent trend.  Our business in SSL certificates is witnessing a good growth rate.


IoT brings out the danger of more connected things increasing the attack vectors for hackers across wearables, smart cities and other platforms.


The numbers from the experts in IoT are overwhelming from the respective of people connected to people, people connected to things and other combinations. The opportunity is immense and I do believe IoT will be a large market for us in near future. The complexities on different networks working together and the fact that they can get compromised is real. Security providers and manufacturers have to think through their product roadmap to prevent those breaches as much as possible.


How has the face of authentication market changed globally in past few years in terms of technology products and customer demands?


Authentication used to have ‘nice to have’ technology for companies. But now it’s a ‘must to have’ for CISOs on their security strategy. From early days of SMS to OTP to hardware tokens and mobile devices, there has been a proliferation of different devices and the authentication has changed its form accordingly. This will continue as we are focused to improve the user experience along with increasing the security envelope in our authentication solutions.

Authentication solution is not sold or implemented in isolation as it is used to authenticate to some device. Firewall, VPN or hosted applications use industry standard protocol and the solutions from Entrust Datacard work fine with them. We use open standards that are easily interoperable with other hardware technologies.


Authentication has moved from ‘nice to have’ technology to ‘must have’ for CISOs on their security strategy.


What are the new business avenues for Entrust Datacard? Is Cloud and Mobility acting as a catalyst for dominant areas of authentication and PKI?


Cloud and mobility are the big playfields for us. We have cloud platform for authentication and PKI managed services for companies that don’t have the infra to manage the complexity, it’s a great opportunity. In cloud business, we not only see our existing on premise customers move to cloud but also a big opportunity for channel partners to upgrade those installed bases towards cloud. We also see new customers who never had authentication solutions now move to our authentication cloud platform.


It sounds like a great opportunity for channels. But are the channels really ready to shift from reseller model to cloud era?


The more progressive resellers and value added distributors definitely want to build their portfolio and enhance their expertise in these new areas of cloud and mobility. We see good engagements from that set of channels across various countries. However some legacy resellers will wait till the technology gets more cemented. Entrust Datacard is helping that transition by continuously enabling and training these early adopter channel partners on the leading edge and targeting their customer base towards cloud model.

What are the credentials of channel partners that are best fit for Entrust Datacard?


The most important aspect is aligning with channel partners who have desire to nurture a value relationship with us. Their benefits will accentuate with the value they bring in with their trained and dedicated resources. We are keen to work with partners who will make investment in training sales organisation, buyers’ journey by vertical market, sales techniques. But also from technical perspective to attend in-person technical sessions to grow their professional services’ business.


We are not looking to meet partners every quarter to talk on the revenues but we work with them through a comprehensive business plan on more regular basis. And of course it is important to work with channel companies with a steady working capital and good reputation in the marketplace.


Has the channels’ expectation list from technology providers changed over the years? Maybe concern areas around rules of engagement, over distribution to name a few.

I have been covering the distribution and managing channels for decades, and I definitely see a huge trend to have an elite network of channels. All the major security manufacturers changed their strategy from being very elite to falling into the trap of over distributed channels. And now most of them are now working with niche set of channels.


The other big expectation from them is training and enablement as they expect vendors to provide the tools to their teams to be successful especially for new technologies. Finally, they are demanding us to handhold them including talking to their end customers. They expect us to being some of that business to them, get their team started and we can collectively partner with them to build the business.


Information Security and Payments is a colossal market for Entrust Datacard. What part of the security posture do you cover for the organisations?


The personalisation part of our business payments is a huge critical market. Over 90 percent of financial cards globally are produced on our systems. In more mature markets, there’s a trend to instantly issues debit and credit cards. The tremendous amount of credentials with the cards gives us ample opportunity to bake in the security on those transactions.The credential part of business whether government programs, passports, transportation, insurance, employee cards is a big business for our 2 factor authentication solutions. Both parts  together provide us an edge over other technology providers.

Payments is predominantly channels driven business. Many decades ago, banks and financial institutions manufactured their own financial cards and then they outsourced the same. Now the trend has moved back in-house which is more driven by the ability the demand to issue a card – credit or debit – instantly to the consumers.


What key priorities have you etched out as company’s global channel chief for 2017? And what would be the channel mantras.

Recruit, enable and grow are the three mantras for us. Our philosophy remains to build a very elite network of partners that are focused on the regions and the verticals. And the fact that the partners deliver the way the end customers want to buy (on premise or cloud) will be our winning philosophy. This will drive not only clarity into the market but further ensure more profitability for channels. We are focused on creating the additional portfolio in regards to professional services which is large part of channel partner business.


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