Harpreet Bhatia is the director, Channels and Strategic Alliances, India and SAARC at Palo Alto Networks. Bhatia has over two decades of experience in various sectors such as IT, telecom, networking, security sales management, operational management, project management, customer and partner management, strategy planning, and business operations.
In an exclusive interview with ChannelWorld, Bhatia talks about the scope of growth in cloud security as 2019 becomes the year of hybrid cloud adoption.
How do you see your business growth in 2019? And where do you see this growth coming from?
In 2019, we will focus more on cloud security as growth driver as most customers will move to a hybrid environment. We have recently acquired RedLock, a public cloud security analytics company, which extends our existing public cloud security offerings. This security analytics capability utilises an innovative AI-driven approach that correlates disparate security data sets. RedLock provides comprehensive visibility, threat detection and rapid response across an organisation’s entire public cloud environment.
RedLock also correlates disparate data sets, including resource configurations, user activities, network traffic, host vulnerabilities and threat intelligence to provide the necessary context on risks. This contextual understanding of the public cloud reduces incident response time from weeks to seconds. In addition, 2019 promises vast services opportunities that offer significant profitability gains for channel partners.
What are the biggest challenges that organizations face in the cybersecurity space currently?
The two main challenges that organizations face are shortage of talent and being compliant to regulations.
IT talent shortage: A shortage of IT talent compounds the challenges introduced by cloud adoption. More than half (51 percent) of organizations face a cybersecurity skills shortage, and the demand has reached a fever pitch. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, globally, the projected demand will increase exponentially, with 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs needing to be filled by 2021.
Compliance and regulations: Maintaining a good compliance posture becomes an even greater struggle as rules and regulations change and update quickly. Indian organisations, while doing business globally, have to make sure that they adhere to global as well as local transacting country compliance norms. Hence, they need to have visibility of their current status versus what is required to be fully compliant.
“This year we expect to see the channel community betting big on cloud services and realigning its key partners for opportunities.”
What are your priority areas to assist channel partners this year?
At Palo Alto Networks, our channel program offers renewal protection, rebates and incentives especially for partners who are technically sound to support and service our customers. For us, subscriptions and services make up 60 percent of our business, and it is growing twice as fast as our hardware business. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) shows the most significant growth among software segments. Enterprises are shifting to pay-for-use models that offer flexibility.
Our mutual customers have an ever-expanding need for partner services to successfully integrate cybersecurity offerings into a hybrid infrastructure, optimize security features, and secure the network from end-point to the cloud. Along with our cloud providers, we are now building a new pool of born-on-cloud set of partners.
What are the technology trends that can impact channel partners as it relates to your specific business?
This year we expect to see the channel community betting big on cloud services and realigning its key partners for opportunities. Here are two technology trends that organisations should look forward to in 2019:
“The prolific preference for cloud and SaaS has created a shift in customer consumption habits for ‘everything-as-a-service.”
1) Expansion of security services led practices: Several factors contribute to this growing need of cybersecurity services.These include cloud adoption, IT talent shortage, compliance and regulations, and increase in MSSPs. Organisations would need MSSPs to help them rapidly ramp up and scale their cloud environment while deploying security measures specifically designed to secure critical workloads. MSSPs that adapt to new dynamics and offer a full cycle of security services have vast opportunities in front of them.
2) Changing consumption habits: The prolific preference for cloud and SaaS has created a shift in customer consumption habits for ‘everything-as-a-service’. SaaS cybersecurity offerings provide customers the ease and speed they have become accustomed to. It also allows vendors to automatically deploy updates and patches to protect against newly detected vulnerabilities.
If there is one key message you have for your partners in 2019, what will it be?
In 2019, partners should start embracing cloud security and understand the framework, as the network side of the business will not be seeing much of growth. But both endpoint and cloud will be the main run rate business for the channel.