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A definite momentum Cloud computing, more of jargon until a few years ago than anything more substantial, is now making inroads with solutions available from many vendors. It has been a steady evolution as cloud computing begins to sound more convincing to an increasing number of believers. And it looks like we are at the cusp of a momentum that will come sooner than later with more companies turning to adopt some forms of cloud services. One of the bottlenecks until some time ago was that maybe users were not comfortable with the idea of accessing their critical applications over the cloud. They were perhaps unwilling to step out of the comfort zone of having easy access to packaged software applications within their networks. That inertia to change might be wearing off now considerably. Definitely, security continues to be a lingering concern but as an expert from Symantec puts it, organizations who go in for cloud implementations must at the outset ensure they will continue to have a ‘similar visibility and control of their information and applications whether they are in the cloud or residing on their own infrastructure’. It is widely reckoned that small and medium businesses would be amongst the early adopters of cloud computing solutions. The early movers to the cloud would benefit from a greater leverage of their IT infrastructure as a business enabler. As eventually more companies around are going to start using more cloud based applications, the ones who moved on to the cloud earlier would have an undeniable advantage of being there earlier and therefore having better mastery over how it works best for their business model.

R. Narayan Managing Editor

Publisher: Vivek Sharma Managing Editor: R. Narayan Art Director: Faiz Ahmed Sales Director: Alishan Zaidi Sales Coordinator: Smitha Jithesh

Content

Editorial

In Focus - Pg 10

Symantec survey looks at the state of the cloud

Features - Pg 14

All is well with the Business of Security Trends suggest that the demand for security solutions continues to stay buoyant and now distributors are beginning to offer some cloud based solutions as well. The new value frontier - Pg 16 Aptec’s Value Distribution is gearing up to be among the frontrunners in distribution of cloud based offerings in the region

Q &A - Pg 22

Psilog/ A game of consolidation Ajay Chauhan, CEO of the Spectrum group of companies and Psilog says that the diversification strategy for the group was a well thought out one in this interview SI View - Pg 10

ITS- Building competence through focus - Pg 20

Case study - Pg 19

Netgear and Osool provide integrated solution for Estemarat Jarir Bookstore Reduces IT Costs with SonicWALL solution - Pg 21

Insight

Pg 12 The essential data protection strategy Pg 25 Making Video Free Pg 26 Security and ‘the cloud’

Published by VAR Magazine Office no:31, Mezzanine Floor, Al Durrah Tower, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai

Disclaimer: While the publishers have made every attempt possible to get accurate information on published content in this handbook they cannot be held liable for any errors herein.

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News

EMC to lead the way to the cloud EMC is participating at GITEX 2011, under the theme of “Cloud Meets Big Data”. EMC, the platinum sponsor of Cloud Confex, has a senior delegation of regional and international executives attending the exhibition, and is keen to share its wealth of industry knowledge and expertise with the exhibition and conference visitors, customers and partners. On the EMC stand, located in the Cloud Confex, CLD2, Sheikh Saeed Hall, workstations with virtual demos highlighting EMC’s latest breakthrough products and solutions designed to help organizations accelerate the journey to the cloud and transform their business as well as live demos showcasing vBlockTM the unified stack of compute, network and storage for cloud infrastructure , Avamar and Data Domain, the Fast, efficient backup and recovery solutions with deduplication technology will be staged to allow stand visitors a hands-on experience and opportunity to interact with the industry leaders. In addition to the demonstrations, a real ‘in practice’ series of educational technology workshops will run for 3 days, from the 10th – 12th October in Sharjah D Meeting room (Hall 8 - First floor), at 11:00am, 2:00pm, 3:00pm and 4:00pm. The 3 day workshops will be delivered by international industry experts covering a range of hot topics aimed at showing how EMC can help organizations of all sizes realize the benefits of cloud computing by building a storage infrastructure designed to reduce risk, lower cost and maximize the value of ‘Big Data’.

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MDS UAE Holdings tops IT Services in 2010 MDS UAE has been recognised as the UAE’s top IT Services Vendor according to IT Services Revenue in 2010 for the seventh consecutive year as reported by the latest IDC IT Services Executive Summary. The distinction reaffirmed the consistently strong performance of MDS. MDS will be showcasing its wide array of topselling enterprise technology solutions during its participation as the exclusive sponsor of the official VIP “Majlis” Lounge of GITEX Technology Week 2011. The company aims to highlight its services being offered by its four divisions, which are the Systems Group, Site & Power Group, System Integration Group, and the Solutions Group. Sami Abi Esber, President, MDS UAE Holdings, said: “Our exceptional attention to detail and strong focus on customer satisfaction have been critical in maintaining our competitive edge as the leading technology solutions provider in the UAE. MDS delivers custom-built services that are tuned to satisfy the distinct needs of our clients, empowering them with world-class technology solutions..”

Nexans highlights LAN Infrastructure Solutions Nexans is participating in Gitex 2011 along with its distributor, Mindware. Nexans will be highlighting the features and benefits of its LAN solutions including LANmark 6A, 7A and LANsense Next Generation Analyser, its latest micro-bundle fibre optic cables and its green technology solutions at the leading ICT exhibition in the Middle East. Senior executives from the company will be present at GITEX to meet with customers and partners at the event. “ What we will be highlighting at the event are the features and benefits of our LAN Infrastructure technologies in an IT network and how the quality and performance of the company’s cabling system plays a direct and measurable role on the performance and reliability of their LANs. We are also looking forward to promoting our latest micro-bundle fibre optic cables, our green technology solutions and signing on new partnerships,” says Tarek Helmy, Regional Director Gulf & Middle East, Nexans Cabling Solutions.


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News

Injazat appoints Antonio Aten unveils flexAntonuccio as new COO ible, remote-con- Injazat Data Systems has appointed Antonio as its new Chief Operating Officer. trolled power dis- Antonuccio Mr. Antonio joins Injazat from HP Enterprise Services MEMA; His experience in strategy tribution line consulting and corporate transformation and ATEN International, a leading designer and manufacturer of advanced connectivity solutions, today launched its PN5/PN7 power distribution units (PDU), the latest in ATEN’s suite of ALTUSEN Power Over the NET products. The PN5/PN7 products offer outlet-level control combined with remote access to give IT administrators the ability to power control devices attached to the unit from practically any location via a TCP/IP connection. Catering to high-density server deployments, the PN5/PN7 products are a model of efficiency, improving server rack usage, enhancing power consumption monitoring, increasing server efficiency and IT personnel productivity. With support for realtime power status measurement, the PN5/PN7 products enable administrators to monitor the current, voltage and power consumption of their IT equipment, either at the PDU or outlet level, minimizing the power cost of running their equipment, and ensuring high levels of system availability for server rooms of all sizes. In addition, the PN5/ PN7 PDU features a space-saving 0U design that allows it to be mounted vertically on the outside of the rack, resulting in a more efficient use of server room space, and the elimination of the usual cable clutter.

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extensive exposure to the Middle Eastern markets will be tapped to sustain Injazat’s industry leadership. Prior to joining HP, Antonio was Associate Partner within the Italian Telecom, Technology and Media division of global management consulting firm Bain & Company. He also worked for the company’s UK, Brazil, and USA offices.

Polycom strategy to drive global adoption of HD Video Collaboration Polycom has unveiled a software strategy to bring secure HD video collaboration to the broadest range of business, video, mobile, and social networking applications through standards-based infrastructure delivered on-premises, hosted, or with service providers from the “video cloud.” Polycom’s software strategy spans four key initiatives: 1. Deliver the Most Complete, Interoperable Software Platform for Universal HD Video Collaboration 2. Expand Partner Ecosystem and Bring HD Video Collaboration to Mobile and Social Platforms 3. Create the First Open HD “Video Cloud” Exchange with Service Providers 4. Continue to Set the Standard with Software Innovations that Deliver Exceptional User Experiences and Transform the Way We Work and Collaborate “Polycom is known for the innovative solutions that have been powering business communications for nearly 20 years and our software is at the core of enabling a highly differentiated customer experience,” said Andy Miller, CEO, Polycom. “Moving forward, Polycom software will be increasingly present in desktop, mobile, and social networking platforms.”


Brocade’s Cloud-Optimized Networking Solutions Brocade is exhibiting at Gitex Cloud Confex and showcasing its comprehensive portfolio of solutions for cloud-optimized networks. Hassan Hamadani, marketing and business development manager for emerging markets at Brocade says, “Gitex is an important event in our calendar as it gives us an opportunity to interact with our key audience. Gitex Cloud Confex is slated to be the largest cloud platform in The Middle East, featuring all the leading industry players. This is a great platform for Brocade to talk about all the latest cloud-optimized networking innovations that the company has introduced in the recent past. Brocade’s comprehensive portfolio of products and open-architecture solutions are designed to help customers migrate smoothly to private, public and hybrid cloud models and virtualized environments”. “Through our participation at the event, we hope to generate new opportunities from service provider companies wishing to offer cloud services to their customers, as well as enterprise companies looking to simplify and optimize their data centre networks and embrace the cloud”.

Nexans highlights LAN Infrastructure Solutions Nexans, the worldwide leader in the cabling industry, today announced that it is participating in Gitex Technology Week 2011 along with its distributor, Mindware. Nexans will be highlighting the features and benefits of its LAN solutions including LANmark 6A, 7A and LANsense Next Generation Analyser, its latest micro-bundle fibre optic cables and its green technology solutions at the leading ICT exhibition in the Middle East. Senior executives from the company will be present at GITEX to meet with customers and partners at the event. “The Middle East is an important market for us. GITEX, being the top technology exhibition, is an ideal forum for us to demonstrate our leadership in the LAN infrastructure products space as well as meet our customers and partners from across the region at a single venue. What we will be highlighting at the event are the features and benefits of our LAN Infrastructure technologies in an IT network and how the quality and

Riverbed presents IT performance solutions at GITEX 2011 Riverbed Technology is showcasing its suite of IT performance solutions at this year’s GITEX. Riverbed transforms IT performance around the globe by providing solutions spanning wide area network (WAN) optimization, application-aware network performance management (NPM), application delivery and web content optimization (WCO). Conference goers can visit the Riverbed booth to learn about the Riverbed product families, including Riverbed Steelhead appliances, Riverbed Cascade and the Riverbed application delivery controller (ADC), which delivers high-performance software-based load balancing and traffic management solutions for virtual and cloud environments. “GITEX continues to offer a platform for us to showcase our expanding suite of solutions to the Middle East market. Our recent announcements ensure that we are well placed to meet the ever growing needs of enterprise organizations in the Middle East as they investigate and implement disaster recovery, virtualization, consolidation and cloud computing environments,” said Paul Sherry, regional sales director, Middle East, Riverbed. More than 13,000 organizations worldwide, across a wide range of markets, depend on Riverbed to understand, optimize and consolidate their IT infrastructure.

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Symantec

In Focus

Symantec survey looks at the state of the cloud A global survey by Symantec examined how organizations are adopting cloud computing and dealing with the changes it can impose on their approach to managing IT.

Symantec’s 2011 State of Cloud Survey reflects trends that experts are currently seeing in cloud adoption in this region where organizations have mixed feelings when it comes to security – with a majority ranking it as both a top concern and top goal of moving to the cloud. Symantec has also seen that IT organizations may not be adequately prepared for the move to the cloud, as almost half of the respondents said their IT staffs are not ready at this time. “Findings from this survey reinforce what our customers are telling us and mirror attitudes that we are currently seeing in this part of the world towards cloud adoption with security currently being one of the top concerns for organizations across the Middle East” said Bulent Teksoz, Chief Security Strategist for Emerging Markets. “To be confident in the cloud, IT organizations must take measures to ensure they have the same visibility and control of their information and applications whether they are in the cloud or residing on their own infrastructure especially in light of recent intelligence that points to a rise in targeted attacks in this region.» What are Symantec’s recommendations for organizations looking to move into the cloud? • Take the lead in embracing cloud computing. IT needs to take a proactive

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role in embracing the cloud. Too many IT organizations today are taking a slow, methodical, conservative approach to moving to the cloud. As an IT leader, you should maintain control of important aspects such as security, availability and cost. That’s hard to do unless your staff has received the proper training and preparation. • Set information and application tiers. Not all of your information and applications are created equally. Perform an analysis and place your information and applications into tiers to determine what you feel comfortable moving to the cloud. • Assess your risk and set appropriate policies. Assure critical information is only accessible by authorized users and that critical information doesn’t leave the company. You should also make sure cloud vendors can meet your compliance requirements. Finally, assess potential cloud vendors for operational issues such as high availability and disaster recovery abilities. • Get started now. You don›t have to take an all or nothing approach to cloud computing. Leveraging cloud services are an easy first step to moving to the cloud. While it may take time to prepare to move business-critical applications, you can start immediately with simpler applications and services.

Bulent Teksoz, Chief Security Strategist, Symantec

To be confident in the cloud, IT organizations must take measures to ensure they have the same visibility and control of their information and applications whether they are in the cloud or residing on their own infrastructure - especially in light of recent intelligence that points to a rise in targeted attacks in this region.


Findings

The survey focused on various forms of cloud computing including Public and Private Software-as-a-Service, Hybrid Infrastructure or Platformas-Service, as well as Public and Private Infrastructure or Platform-asa-Service. • Organizations Torn Over Security According to the survey, organizations are conflicted about security – rating it both as a top goal and as a top concern with moving to the cloud. Eighty-seven percent of respondents are confident that moving to the cloud will not impact or will actually improve their security. However, achieving security for cloud environments is also a top concern for these organizations, which cited potential risks including malware, hacker-based theft and loss of confidential data. “With the cloud, everything depends on how you secure your data,” said the CTO of a small technology company. “If there’s no security, there’s no point in moving to the cloud.” • IT Staff Not Quite Ready for the Cloud Despite a great deal of consideration, many organizations claimed that they are not ready to adopt the cloud. The minority of respondents (between 15 and 18 percent) rated their staff as extremely prepared for the transition to cloud. Almost half of the respondents said their IT staffs are not ready at this time. Part of the reason for this readiness shortfall is lack of experience, as just 25 percent of IT teams have any cloud experience. As a result, most organizations are currently turning to outside resources for help. In fact, when deploying hybrid infrastructure or platform-as-a-service, about 3 in 4 respondents said they are turning to value added resellers (VARs),

independent consultants, vendor professional services organizations or systems integrators. • Few Have Crossed the Finish Line Many organizations are talking about moving to the cloud, with 75 to 81 percent at least discussing all forms of cloud. Notably, the study found a high interest in cloud services. Seventy-three percent of respondents have adopted or are adopting some sort of cloud service, with security services leading the way. The top cloud services companies are adopting include email services (such as management or security); security management; and web and IM security. However, few have fully migrated to the cloud. Less than 20 percent reported having completed implementing each of the cloud focus areas covered by the research. About 1 in 4 organizations are currently in an implementation phase. About two-thirds are still in early discussions, trials or not considering a move to the cloud at all. • Reality Not Meeting Expectations The survey discovered that organizations having implemented cloud technologies are not seeing the results/benefits they had anticipated. Eighty-eight percent expected cloud to improve their IT agility, but only 47 percent said that it actually did. Results also fell short in the areas of disaster recovery, efficiency, lower operational expenses and improved security. This year, Symantec will have a prime location in Hall 3, Stand D3-1, which will consist of meeting rooms, a presentation theatre and solution demonstration pods where various solutions will be showcased in collaboration with our trusted channel partners from across the region. Symantec.cloud is also taking part in the Cloud Confex Stand CLD-7 in the Sheikh Saeed Hall.

Middle East Virus Rate Goes Up Symantec announced the results of the September 2011 Symantec Intelligence Report. New research shows that the Virus Rate in the United Arab Emirates is up to 1 in 183.2 from 1 in 314.3 last month while the Middle East figure is up to 1 in 221 from 1 in 662.9 in August. Saudi Arabia continues to be the most spammed geography globally with a spam rate of 84.0 percent. “This unprecedented high-water mark underlines the nature by which cyber criminals have escalated their assault on this region in 2011. While strong and commendable efforts are currently being made by authorities and government entities, it is imperative that enterprises and consumers take security into their own hands to combat cybercrime as it grows across the Middle East” said Justin Doo, Security Practice Director, Emerging Markets for Symantec. Analysis further reveals that a deluge of malicious email-borne malware has left a clear mark on the threat landscape for September. Approximately 72% of all email-borne malware in September could be characterized as aggressive strains of generic polymorphic malware, first identified in the July Symantec Intelligence Report. At the end of July, this rate was 23.7%, in August it fell slightly to 18.5% before soaring to 72% in September. Further analysis also reveals that the social engineering behind many of these attacks has also accelerated, with the adoption of a variety of new techniques.

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Insight

CommVault

The essential data protection strategy Greg White from CommVault stresses the need to move away from conventional backup and recovery systems to a modern approach. Greg White, Senior Manager, CommVault System

It’s no secret that today’s unprecedented data growth, datacentre consolidation and server virtualisation is wreaking havoc with conventional approaches to backup and recovery. The rapidly intensifying demand for storage is putting a tight squeeze on enterprise resources as backup and recovery becomes increasingly complex; cutting into staff time and budgets whilst also slowing operations. Conventional backup and recovery approaches are no longer robust enough to meet current data and information management challenges. Modern Data Protection as a new strategy is essential. as it provides unparalleled advantages taking an innovative and holistic approach to data and information management. IT managers in the Middle East need to understand this. “The exponential growth in the volume of digital information is resulting in almost unbridled growth in demand for storage capacity,” said principal analyst Amy Larsen DeCarlo in a January 2011 Current Analysis report. “Nor is there any sign of a slowdown anytime in the near future, with some industry estimates

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that individual storage volumes could continue to grow 90 to 100 percent year over year for the foreseeable future.” Greg White, Senior Manager of Product Marketing at CommVault Systems says that as data rapidly becomes one of the enterprise’s most valuable assets, determining how to analyse, replicate, protect, archive, search and recover it whenever necessary is quickly becoming more complicated. The key to keeping today’s data chaos under control is to reduce risk of loss, minimise operational complexity, and ultimately lower the cost of data management by developing a more complete understanding of your data. In addition to the ever-intensifying data growth being experienced there is a pressure to control and manage data in huge volumes which leads to burgeoning virtual server deployments, applications with enormous data requirements, heightened business demand to reduce downtime, greater regulatory and governance requirements, and emerging “infrastructure as a service” models such as cloud storage. All of these factors im-

pact your resources and make current data management circumstances even more critical concerns. Legacy approaches to data management have fallen behind in the areas of protection and recovery of these massive volumes, or addressed them in a piecemeal fashion. The Trouble with Legacy Backup Legacy, point-level approaches that stream backups directly from production environments are fast losing their effectiveness because they can’t solve the problems of massive data overload. Enormous volumes of data lead to long backup windows, which often forces manual or complex snapshot and scripting methodologies to turn into extremely complicated and timeconsuming recovery operations. Even more frustrating, legacy backup doesn’t globally address the proliferation of redundant data leading to excessive demands on network, storage and management resources. Legacy replication, if you can afford it, is complex, resource–intensive or tied to specific hardware. There is no granular-


ity into the data you are protecting and no integration with the applications creating that data. In turn this limits your ability to restore and use protected data as well as it increasing the time it takes to accomplish these tasks. Finally, legacy backup solutions are often dependent on a collection of loosely integrated tools and products that require scripting and individual management consoles, which is another administrative nightmare. Employing a Modern Data Protection strategy to meet the challenges of data management in this new era means venturing beyond the models of the past and introducing a single, modern platform that integrates application intelligence with hardware snapshots, indexing, de-duplication and replication to efficiently capture, move, retain, find and recover data from any storage tier. Making it even more appealing, this powerful, innovative approach is based on a single user interface and common code base that lets you improve recovery times, reduce costs, improve operations and consolidate budget line items. The ultimate benefit: Modern Data Protection frees you to focus your critical time and resources on your organisation’s broader business goals, by simplifying the data and information management process so you can “do more with less” and ensure that you’re also poised to meet future storage demands. The process starts with application awareness—in-depth knowledge of applications and file systems to provide granularity into the data you are protecting, and to enable consistent, rapid copying of that data. Next, snapshot technology forms the core of the new data protection process. You must be able to create instant, application-aware recovery copies, even from heterogeneous hardware snapshots. And you need to be able to safeguard your critical information as you bridge the gap from physical to virtual server environ-

ments; rapidly deploy, grow and scale virtual servers; and implement critical applications within those environments. Modern snapshot integration improves recovery time and executes upon stringent Data SLAs, while dramatically reducing backup windows by offloading production resources for backup operations. Once you have snapshot copies of your data, embedded, global de-duplication eliminates redundant data to increase network efficiency and reduce storage infrastructure costs. This happens at the source and across the enterprise, without the need for rehydration during restores or off site, to maximise efficiency. Source-side de-duplication can reduce up to 90% of the data moved over the network and as much as 50% of the time required to perform backups. With the right software, a single, virtual disk target can retain de-duplicated backup and archive copies for efficient retention and fast restores. Next, Modern Data Protection provides the flexibility to maintain copies of your data on different storage tiers to meet different retention and recovery needs, ensure appropriate levels of protection over time and enhance efficiency overall. It enables you to seamlessly and automatically store some snapshots near the original data for quick, granular restore; move older backups off to less costly storage tiers and preserve copies as long as you are required to keep them. Integrated replication in data management software enables this flexibility by efficiently moving full or incremental block changes from hardware snapshot copies. It also significantly reduces the backup window while offloading server and network resources. These replicated copies can be contained in one content-aware, indexed store for both protection and archiving, which allows you to use existing or commodity disk - or even cloud storage services - to lower the total cost of ownership for retained backup and archive data, and to increase IT and business agility.

The key to keeping today’s data chaos under control is to reduce risk of loss, minimise operational complexity, and ultimately lower the cost of data management by developing a more complete understanding of your data.

Automation, role-based security and reporting are also core tenets that factor into your Modern Data Protection strategy. To reduce storage and storage management costs, for instance, almost all manual activities should be eliminated through policy-based approaches and centralised administration that automates the movement of backup and archive data to the most cost-effective storage locations. Security is also paramount, so a modern data solution must provide not only the means with which to secure data but also the flexibility to let administrators selectively define which data different types of users are authorised to see and manipulate. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how good your backup process is if you can’t recover data quickly and efficiently. The last critical element in a Modern Data Protection solution is therefore recovery management. A centralised control that enables granular recovery of files, emails or documents from any storage tier improves recovery time and recovery point objectives. With enterprises in jeopardy of losing irreplaceable business data, and personnel and budgets already stretched, traditional backup and recovery is broken. A Modern Data Protection approach offers unrivaled advantages over legacy data management systems and ensures that your organisation is future-proofed.

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The Security solutions market seem to be better poised despite the continued slowdown and there is a significant opportunity for the channel. Information security is a critical pillar of any organization and is equally significant for an individual. It is therefore hardly surprising that even during times when other verticals are feeling the heat and there is a lull, the Business of security is faring much better according to several industry insiders. Jose Thomas, MD, Bulwark Technologies, an established security focused VAD says that the slowdown impact on the security business has been minimal. He says, “Even during the slowdown, we have seen solutions addressing information security continue to be of demand and moreover the compliance requirements require monitoring & auditing solutions to be mandatory for many corporate and finance sector organization. We have also noticed that SMBs continue to spend on security solutions to protect their network and to establish secure communication solution between the main offices with branch offices and mobile users.” Mohammed Mobasseri, Senior VP at ComGuard, a leading security focused VAD has a similar opinion about the state of the Security Business in the channel. He says, “There are many new partners joining us because of the significant growth of Security Market, and they are gradually trying to move their focus from other segments to Security.” One of the significant issues in the channel is believed to be the limited availability of partners with excellent standards of competence in the domain. B. Ramkumar, VP at Redington Value concurs with the view. He says, “This is a constant challenge for all security

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Mohammad Mobasseri, Senior VP, ComGuard

In Focus Security Market

All is well with the Business of Security Trends suggest that the demand for security solutions continues to stay buoyant and now distributors are beginning to offer some cloud based solutions as well.

vendors. We have very few resellers with the requisite expertise selling security solutions.” Ram further adds, “Security is one of the fastest growing segments in the market apart from storage. Securing virtual environments is becoming a necessity but understanding and skills in the channel is very limited. Structured offerings from the market to cover the entire gamut of security are still missing. Very few players in the channel are still geared up to do the same.”

Spectrum, lays a lot of emphasis on training partners. In addition, it takes pride of the fact that it has a large team of engineers who are able to assist the channel through training and technical support.

Mohammed echoes the opinion that there is a dearth of qualified security focused resellers. He says that when it comes to the higher end of the spectrum, competence is lacking. “Unfortunately where higher technology is concerned as well as the sales cycles are longer, there are not enough resellers in the region that are capable to meet requirements.” Comguard, because of the shared legacy of training with its sister concern

Joe Thomas, MD, Bulwark


solid solution yet in identity management and application security. We are working on identifying some vendors in this space. Other than this, we are covering all other aspects of IT security.” Cloud based security offerings are also on the wish list of distributors looking to spruce up their security portfolios. Ram says, “We are working on bringing out a cloud offering with some of our vendors soon. Yes, it will be an increasing component in the future.” More distributors have already introduced solutions with some partial cloud components or are in the process of doing so.

B. Ramkumar, VP Redington Value

“We are among the few distributors that have more number of engineers than sales and business development staff. We really add value by giving services like Product Sales Training, Product Technical training and certification.” Towards consolidation Distributors are also continuing to consolidate their portfolios and identifying if there are any gaps left out by the products in their portfolio. The intent is to position as a one stop distributor who can meet the customer’s need for all types of security products. Redington identifies a few areas where it would want to strengthen its security offerings. Ram says, “We do not have a

Comguard is expected to unveil some cloud offerings soon. Mohammed says, “We will soon start offering GFI cloud solutions. We are also in negotiations with some security vendors for the areas that we currently do not have any products. However he goes on to say, “We are an end to end security solutions distributor. If you look at our brand list, you will understand that we have solutions for all segments and all security concerns and rarely would you see a conflict of interest, so that our products somehow will complement each other.” Bulwark is also adding hosted cloud solutions focused on security. It offers the BLACKSHIELD Cloud, the world’s first authentication-as-a-service offering, bringing organizations the cost reduction and simplicity benefits of SaaSstyle authentication. In addition, it also provides IBV as a service for secure file exchange with monitoring and auditing and Unified Communication solution from Communigate Systems for Service providers offering hosted UCS.

Emphasis on ROI There is also an emphasis on ROI of investments in solutions by customers. Distributors see a role in cleverly positioning solutions. Jose says, “Customers understand the requirement of implementing security solutions to protect the data, but at the same time looking for effective and competitive solutions. Bulwark positions security solutions ensuring that customers get returns on their investments in a shorter period and at the same time in the long term are able to cope with the ongoing and increasing threat scenario.” Mohammed says the probability of SMB customers being among the earliest to adopt cloud services is quite a strong probability because they could also be convinced of the ROI. “While SMB procurements are rising due to the cyber threat perceptions, soon SMB companies will be the first customers to cloud services.” It is also perhaps easier for SMB clients because they may not have installations already done on the scale of an enterprise client for instance. Comguard goes the extra mile to offer some tangible ROI estimates to customers with some of the products they distribute. “Most Security and Networking solutions are in high demand and returns maximum ROI in a very short period of time. We also offer ROI calculations for some our products to help SMB decide faster, easier and more confidently.” In spite of some niggling issues, it goes without saying that the security solutions market is considerably one of the growth segments . Those who continue to add value and have a well rounded portfolio will stay in the lead.

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Feature

Aptec

The new value frontier Aptec Distribution is gearing up to be among the frontrunners in distribution of cloud based offerings in the region

In recent weeks, Aptec has achieved some decisive momentum in being geared up for the cloud computing and virtualization era. Microsoft recently announced Aptec Holdings as distributor of its cloud technology product – Microsoft Office 365. Office 365 combines Microsoft Office Professional Plus with cloud-based versions of nextgeneration Microsoft communications and collaborations services: Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Microsoft Lync Online.

of cloud computing tools and services, recognizing a new technology that could reshape their competitive landscape. Aptec has initiated various alliances to strengthen its portfolio on cloud which includes offerings right from infrastructure on cloud either physical or on virtual environment, Security, Networking, Storage and communications with the right flavor of services capabilities to deploy such complex cloud solutions via our channel partners.”

Further came the announcement that ATS, the services subsidiary of Aptec has been certified as the VMWare Authorized Training Center - for the Middle East region. ATS already has got a VMware Certified Instructor on board who will be conducting trainings for channel partners in the region.

Cloud as a key driver Aptec has partnerships with some of the top Technology vendors who are at the forefront of the cloud revolution. In other words, its existing association with these vendors gives it a perfect platform to launch cloud solutions as and when the vendors make them available for the market.

The two announcements for the two sister concerns of the Aptec group suggest that Aptec is gearing up to get its engagement on next generation solutions and services with vendors and its channel to the next level. In other words, Aptec is strengthening its positioning as a value add distributor in the market. Santhosh Kumar – Software Business Unit manager of Aptec Distribution says, “Aptec’s vision has been to position itself as a strong value added distributor. Cloud has evolved as an important aspect of IT and the latest trends shows that companies large and small are moving quickly to adopt some form

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Kumar adds , “Aptec is the only distributor who can provide end to end solutions on cloud. We have vendors such as HP,IBM, Dell, Netapp, Cisco, Oracle, VMware, Microsoft, Symantec, McAfee, Riverbed, Wyse etc, which offer strong proven solutions to build the cloud infrastructure. Our recent alliance with Microsoft office 365 gives us an edge to offer channel a pure public cloud services starting from offering Software as services and then moving further to offer complete IT as services on a private cloud platform.” However, cloud deployments are still in the initial phase in the region. At

Santhosh Kumar Software Business Unit Manager, Aptec Distribution

GITEX several top vendors are focusing on driving more awareness of cloud computing. Kumar says , ”Cloud is a new concept especially to the Middle East and it would surely take time to start actively deploying cloud solutions. Having said that Middle-East with its strong vendor/ partner presence will be able to quickly adopt cloud offerings as soon as the cloud adoption starts picking pace. A distributor like Aptec will play vital role in creating awareness and also speeding the process of adopting cloud offerings.” Aptec’s go to market strategy for enabling cloud solutions deployment through its partners has been threefold. It includes Recruit & Enable at the first level, Engagement at the second level and deployment at the third level. In the first phase, Aptec will recruit various channel partners across the gulf


channel partners deploy complex cloud solutions which could be pure public cloud, on-premises/Private cloud or combination of both to form a hybrid cloud. Partners would be able to leverage Aptec’s understanding of the intricacies involved in deploying such solutions and use its services to create success stories around cloud deployments. Mario Veljovic, GM at ATS says, “There are various ways to define “Cloud”! Consequently there are a choice of options to support the adoption to the “new” technology! Cloud definitely needs a wider understanding of the diverse technologies working together, which requires resellers to scale up simultaneously in a range of technology components. ATS is helping to bridge the gap within the reseller community and ultimately speed up the adoption to deploy Cloud Solutions.”

Mario Veljovic, GM, ATS

region and actively enable them on Level 100 and 200 training for partners to position cloud to their customers. In the second phase, Aptec with its strong credentials on value add background will offer complete solutions to channel partners to ease the sales cycle and also help partners gain opportunities by offering Pre-sales and post sales support. Aptec will conduct various marketing activities to generate leads, offer promotions, rebates and other benefits to partners. In the 3rd phase, Aptec with its strong service wing (ATS) will be able to help

It is expected that some user segments will take the lead initially in terms of cloud solutions deployed. However, cloud based solutions will benefit any user profile. Companies, large and small are moving quickly to adopt some form of cloud computing tools and services, recognizing a new technology that could reshape their competitive landscape. Kumar adds , “Every segment can benefit from having cloud solutions which justifies the investments in terms of increased business agility, a faster adoption of new Technology, lower fixed costs (shift from capex to opex, lower up-front costs to develop/deploy IT systems, always on newest versions of software without IT updates/patches, lower overall IT costs and more.” Deployment of cloud solutions will enable greater flexibility with processes and enable deeper collaboration with business partners as well as free up IT resources to work on more strategic issues. Early adopters of cloud solutions

would see it as a competitive advantage. “The SMB will benefit most from cloud solutions as it justifies return on investment and also the Total Cost of Ownership. This takes away the pain to run/ maintain there IT infrastructure to operate their core business.” According to a recent survey, among the early adopters to cloud, 29% will adopt public cloud, 37% Private and 34% HYBRID. ATS, the services division of Aptec has a key role to play in the whole go to market execution of new generation solutions. The division has been ramping up its capabilities and expertise further to meet the demands of a cloud solutions era. ATS provides several value-add services including pre-sales support, postsales services - such as implementation, deployment, customization, optimization as well as support contracts for Training and Consultancy. ATS’ Services are available exclusively only to resellers. Aptec’s Distribution units are acting as an exclusive channel salesforce for ATS. Hence Aptec promotes ATS’ professional services across all territories. ATS and Aptec jointly build tailor-made promotions and special offerings for the Reseller Channel.

Cloud is a new concept especially to the Middle East and it would surely take time to start actively deploying cloud solutions. Having said that middle-east with its strong vendor/partner presence will be able to quickly adopt cloud offerings as soon as the cloud adoption starts picking pace.

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Feature

Aptec

Mario says, “The key focus for ATS during last year was to execute the new go-to-market vision & strategy and promoting “Professional Services” via our sister companies, Aptec and Track, to resellers across the Middle East. The key focus areas in terms of Technologies remained on Security, Data Management, Virtualization, Data Centre and Storage. In addition, we have built further technical capabilities around Unified Communication to support Aptec’s new Microsoft VAD Agreement. Furthermore, we build instructor lead training capabilities around Virtualization under the “VMWare Authorized Training Centre” (VATC) Agreement and set up ATS’ own Training and Lab Facilities. Many new certifications and Accreditation have been added to the Technical Teams.” Right through the year, ATS executed joint road shows with Aptec, positioning ATS Professional Services to resellers across the region, which the distributor claims received an overwhelming response and acceptance. ATS strengthened its presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and set up technology talent pools in its offshore centers (OC) in Pakistan and Egypt. ATS has also intensified its partnership with vendors across multiple technologies, such as APC, Cisco, Dell, McAfee, Microsoft, NetApp, Riverbed, RSA, Symantec and VMWare. In summary, Aptec and its subsidiary ATS together are gearing up to offer further enhanced capabilities to the channel. Its record 31st year of participation at GITEX this year is likely to provide it a platform to enhance its credibility as a VAD that is a frontrunner in the region as far as taking cloud based solutions to market is concerned.

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The Integrator October 2011

A record 31st appearance at GITEX

Aptec is making its 31st appearance at GITEX this year to showcase the benefits of contemporary business solutions to customers. Aptec is one of very few companies that have participated in every GITEX event since it began, and this year it will be focusing on IT business solutions and what these can offer to the industry. The company will announce new products during the show and demonstrate the strength of its regional network, which reaches more than 25 countries around the region, to potential new vendor partners. Among vendors who will be present at Aptec GITEX stand this year showcasing their product are Dell, Microsoft, VMWare, Veeam, Allied Telesis, Symantec/ PC Tools, Riverbed, MCAfee and others. Aptec is using its participation at GITEX as a platform to showcase Cloud solutions and its capabilities as well as credentials to deliver cloud solutions to its channel partners. The distributor is also showcasing various products and demonstrating technologies addressing cloud. The focus during the engagement with partners and end customers would be to drive awareness of what cloud solutions Aptec offers. Specialists in cloud technologies would be at the stand to discuss with both partners and end customers. Aptec’s stand location at GITEX 2011 is in Hall 4, Stand C4-1 of the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Center.


Case Study Sonicwall

infrastructures keep up with these increased volumes,” said Majid Felemban, IT Manager at Jarir Bookstore. Jarir›s network connected its branch locations and warehousing facility

Shahnawaz Sheikh Regional Director, MEA & Turkey, SonicWALL.

Jarir Bookstore, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia›s (KSA) market leader in office supplies, school supplies, IT products and books, reduced its monthly Internet costs by 43 percent by deploying SonicWALL’s NSA series to manage the company›s growing retail branch network and connectivity requirements. Jarir, like other progressive business enterprises, has become increasingly ‹distributed› and employees often work on the move connecting to their businesscritical data through laptops, smartphones and tablets. Secure access and data dissemination has therefore become paramount for IT executives, especially with the proliferation of social media sites that cannibalize bandwidth and invite malicious attacks. A 2009 Forrester report indicates that 50 percent of companies say that 30 percent of their bandwidth is consumed by social media. “The amount of data being transmitted across company networks has grown exponentially in recent years – and this trend will not be reversed. Thus, it is critical for businesses that network

lution in a record 20 days. “SonicWALL’s NSA Series emerged as the most costeffective and easy-to-manage solution. Once deployed, it succeeded in lowering Jarir’s TCO (total cost of ownership) by integrating security capabilities with

Jarir Bookstore Reduces IT Costs with SonicWALL solution Deploying SonicWALL NSA Series results in 30-fold increase in bandwidth; supports Jarir’s rapid expansion plans.

VPN technology,” said Mohammed Samreen, Branch Manager of NAJTech›s Riyadh office.

to the head office through a Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS), which was tunneled through an ISP (Internet Service Provider). However, this architecture created multiple points of failure, hampering employee access to business-critical applications. “With our retail business growing rapidly across Saudi Arabia and the GCC, on average opening three to four showrooms a year, we decided to secure our connectivity and better manage bandwidth requirements by building resilient Virtual Private Network (VPN) tunnels to transfer data,” continued Felemban. “We immediately set out to find a solution that avoided the costly route of buying more bandwidth.” Called in to recommend solutions, NAJTech, SonicWALL’s partner in Saudi Arabia, confirmed and deployed the so-

Furthermore the solution allows real-time visualization that helps IT managers in monitoring web traffic and detecting malicious threats instantaneously. “It is only a matter of time before enterprises adapt to the evolving needs of their workforce by creating a VPN. User-friendly solutions like SonicWALL allow enterprises to do their own tunneling quickly and efficiently requiring a minimum of technical training, thus allowing them to expand at will. We are proud to support Jarir in its rapid growth phase,” added Shahnawaz Sheikh, regional director for MEA and Turkey at SonicWALL. Jarir has connected 33 retail branches, the central warehouse and three head offices using SonicWALL and has begun connecting 11 branches of its wholesale division, Jarir Marketing to its network. The next phase is to connect its investment division, Jarir Investment.

October 2011

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SI View

tailored to meet clients immediate learning needs while leaving plenty of room for accommodation and growth. For the Enterprise Industry (other than banking and education industries), in today’s competitive global markets, ITS believes that it is vital for enterprises to constantly innovate and develop operational efficiency to keep pace with market dynamics. The company

Tarek Khalifa, Area Manager, ITS

with some of the leading banks in the country. Do you see a steady recovery in the enterprise? Steady recovery is more of the right description but globally, it is at a very slow pace. Of course, a freeze on spends is out of the question for any type of enterprise organizations.

Building competence through focus ITS is a leading system integrator in the region and focuses on some of the key verticals in the region. Tarek Khalifa, Area Manager, ITS discusses some of the key focus areas for the integrator and the various services it provides

Discuss the verticals of focus? International Turnkey Solutions (ITS) is a leading integrated information technology solutions and software services provider. The company offers products and services that enable organizations to keep pace with the evolving changes in today›s competitive business environment and to meet future challenges and opportunities. ITS focuses on key vertical industries, namely Baanking, Education and Enterprise. For the Banking Industry, ITS offers a mix of products and solutions that meet Islamic banking, retail banking, investment banking, and compliance and regulatory needs, and are in full compliance with Sharia›h requirements for Islamic banking. In Education, ITS Education offers academic institutions, governmental organizations and corporations a unique and comprehensive online education experience that ensures optimized talent performance. The company offers stable, secure and scalable learning solutions that are

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The Integrator October 2011

provides solutions for Content Management, Security Management, Application Services, and Visual Communications. Describe the services that ITS provides? ITS provides consultation and professional services for both applications and infrastructure. For infrastructure professional services, ITS covers storage, virtualization, Symantec solutions, managed security, VMware solution, SUN, information security management system, and business continuity management services. While for the applications services, ITS covers the core banking solution and its satellite applications in the consultation services. What have been some of the larger projects executed this year? ITS have executed several mega infrastructure and business projects across different industries. Examples are the mega infrastructure projects with Al Ain Municipality and some other Western Area Municipalities. Some mega projects were also conducted

Was ITS affected anytime by the slowdown? The effect with the slowdown was minimal to ITS. This was because of the good funnel of core projects that ITS is always having with its enterprise customers. Do you provide deployment of cloud based solutions? ITS believes that Cloud Computing and Virtualization are becoming the main technologies that are shaping the future of the next generation data center; The transformation of today’s data centers into ‘virtualized’ data centers has now become the most significant strategy for most IT organizations, of all sizes, globally. At ITS, we deliver on the promise of virtualization and help companies realize the benefits of a virtual data center. Our consultants help clients to assess their infrastructure’ needs, and then identify, recommend and deploy a virtualization solution that is right for their business.


Case Study Netgear

NETGEAR and Osool provide integrated solution for Estemarat NETGEAR has announced the successful implementation of an integrated suite of solutions to help enhance the offered UAE Ministry of Labor (MOL) services of Estemarat (Tasheel Centre), a leading service centre providing web-based services for several UAE government entities. The implementation and installation was carried out by the vendor’s partner, Osool Information Technology, and was completed in March earlier this year. According to Estemarat (Tasheel Centre), implementing the new suite of solutions was part of their move to enhance the IT infrastructure of its enterprise systems level and improve the integrity between the centres and the MOL by utilizing key ERP solutions, a unified communication system, surveillance system and power backup as Estemarat›s (Tasheel Centre) operations are 100 per cent internet dependent. After learning about Estemarat’s (Tasheel Centre) requirements and doing a thorough analysis of their operations, NETGEAR recommended the implementation of a Quad WAN solution, which offered full redundancy and connectivity via different connectivity methods. The package included a VPN basic firewall with SSL remote access capabilities, an IP Sec system that would allow for key data gathering for shared files, CCTV footage, ERP and access control security. Aside from Quad WAN, NETGEAR also installed a PoE / GBIC Smart Switch with full integration with Avaya IPT. The full infrastructure solution from NETGEAR, was carried

out by Osool Information Technology in three phases: design, infrastructure and implementation and connection between all branches.

their operations once implemented.” Estemarat’s (Tasheel Centre) requirements were based on demands presented for the MOL’s ‘emol’ services, a series of web-based services for both residential and business sectors. The implementation resulted in a cost effective way to make calls and connect between service centres and also offered the leading service centre with a secure data and back-up storage solutions for the huge amount of data gathered from Estemarat’s daily operations. The presence of a new IP telephony system provided key features like a one-operator set-up and conference call meeting features. The secured and high speed file sharing has also allowed Estemarat (Tasheel Centre) HR resources with free file transfers between centres and accurate time and attendance reports. NETGEAR’s solutions came with a lifetime warranty. The unique data centres also come connected to a disaster recovery site should any unlikely situation arise like power outages and power surges.

“We are very pleased with the positive feedback that we have received from Estemarat (Tasheel Centre), who have reported an increase in efficiencies and productivity as a result of the implementation of NETGEAR’s recommended solutions,” said Mohammad Abdalla, CEO, Osool Information Technology. “We have always remained confident in NETGEAR’s ability to understand the demands and requirements of its customers and address these by leveraging its wide range of products and solutions that can prove to be advantageous to

“The integrated suite of solutions that we have provided for Estemarat (Tasheel Centre) reflects the strong partnership we have with key partners like Osool Information Technology. Servicing centres like Estemarat (Tasheel Centre), who are official partners of the MOL, demonstrates our commitment towards providing our customers with key solutions in improving, organizing and protecting computer and IT infrastructure,” concluded Khaled Alosman, Pre-Sales Consultant, NETGEAR Middle East.

Khaled Alosman Pre-Sales Consultant, NETGEAR Middle East

October 2011

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Psilog

A game of consolidation

Ajay Chauhan, CEO, Spectrum group of companies

Q&A

Psilog International is a Dubai based authorised value added distributor and service center of Psion since it was established in 2009 following the acquisition of the Middle East operations of PSIONTEKLOGIX. It offers pre-sales and post sales services of hardware and software to over 15 countries across the Middle East including North Africa and Pakistan. Ajay Chauhan, CEO of the Spectrum group of companies says that the diversification strategy for the group was a well thought out one in this interview

Elaborate on the operations of Psilog Psilog International is a regional value added distributor (VAD) and authorised service centre for Psion solutions in the Middle East. Psilog International provides niche industry standard solutions such as data collection and management devices, imaging and scanning, RFID, ruggedness, speech and print solutions, wireless solutions, back-end and warehouse management software. These solutions are complemented with professional services such as consultation, design implementation and turnkey solutions. What were the objectives behind your acquisition of PSILOG? The fact is that Dubai is being promoted by the State to be the regional hub of logistics and trade in the region and we wanted to be a good part of that growth story. PSILOG’s primary objective is to look at supporting logistics in its role as a key enabler of doing business. For us to enter the growth business segment, the acquisition was 22

The Integrator October 2011

the quickest route. What are the current solutions you offer? Predominantly, it has been RFID hardware and now we are incorporating RFID or RTLS based software. We are also looking at the wireless opportunity and want to have a separate division completely focused on providing wireless solutions. Ware houses are very large spaces and there is a need for wireless connectivity within for real time inventory updates and we are working on solutions that address the need. Active RFID tracking for instance helps us to know which item is passing the gate etc. We intend to address everything around the supply chain and movement of goods and make sure we have solutions that help provide real time updates of the inventory level. We also intend to include education too as key part of it. We are trying to incorporate best practices in supply chain management. We are big propo-

nents of education and this has always been our primary objective to achieve success. It has been a differentiator with our competitors. The more we educate someone, the better the chance of enabling good sales and more surety of achieving our objectives. What made you embark in a direction quite different from your existing business in IT security distribution as well as training? This has been definitely a different direction but we took it up because we felt that Dubai was strongly positioning itself as a hospitable place for people to do business and and as the export hub of the region. Quite clearly, the focus has been on exports. As Dubai in particular started focusing on the trade aspect of business, there has been a huge impact on logistics in various port operations in the Middle East and has in turn catapulted the demand for hand held solutions. We want to focus on this opportunity


which is growing exponentially and therefore acquired a company which is focused in that domain. It is different from the group’s focus areas of Training and Security distribution but we have identified it as a high growth area and it provides stability to the group now. We have different businesses which are all IT related but in different verticals. How does PSILOG compare with other brands in the RFID market? There are only two other brands which are very well known in RFID sector which are Symbol and Motorola and then there is Intermec. The way we intend to tackle the competition is with our focus on education and best practices. Secondly, we have our own authorized service center to ensure that the devices are locally repaired. The third feature is our expertise in the domains of networking and security, both essential to the setting up of the solution. We are able give the customer the assurance that he would be able to connect easily to the other Logistics systems and also do transactions securely. This is a combined strength that others do not have. As a group, we are in the unique position of leveraging our knowledge in training and education, networking, security as well as use our service facility to provide a proposition that a competitor at least from the regional stand point can not match. What is your go-to market model? We go through the channel. We are looking to add partners who are focused on making software solutions for potential partnerships. We are also looking at resellers who handle networking solutions. We are seeing some convergence in terms of networking and handhelds. We see the need for the people to understand security, networking and handhelds together and we are capable of filling in some of the existing gaps in the market. Unlike our competitors we are able to pinpoint

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The Integrator October 2011

the problems that customers face and solve them because of the knowledge we have from across domains. With Spectrum as part of the group, what advantage do you continue to see? Training remains the cornerstone because that is a big differentiator with every other company. We are propagating that education is a key element if somebody wants to be successful. Our focus on education of our partners has been huge. How would you summarise the year so far for your distribution business? The year has been brilliant for both security and networking. As security would normally grow in times of distress, the business has been quite good so far. In fact there is a slowdown in training as well in the supply chain goods movement but Security has been faring much better. People are worried about information leakage which we take care of. So the security business is growing and is stable. As ours is now a much more diversified group, our growth percentage would be spread out and is likely to be in the region of 15 to 20%, which is healthy considering the state of the market. If the markets return to normal, we would grow much faster. We continue to invest in newer areas and technologies, both in terms of regions and technology verticals too and hopefully this will allow us to insulate any market shocks. From the Technology stand point we cover end user end points like antivirus, firewalls, intrusion detection, DLP (Data Leakage and Prevention), identity and access management etc. We are covering most aspects in security. For end to end security solutions, Banks are our biggest customers, followed by the government infrastructural sector. Most sectors are allocating to Security

investments and even those industries who feel that they are secure are also now steadily allocating more to Security. Hasn’t networking distribution been a focus area for your group? From traditional routing and switching point, the distribution of networking products has not expanded so much. But, we are looking at newer areas such as wireless which I mentioned earlier. We are opening a new division, which will be focusing only on wireless solutions and that is the fastest growing within the networking industry. We are looking at facilitating end-user connectivity as in between our handheld or mobility devices on the wireless. We are focusing on a segment which is comparatively new and has greater potential in terms of education. We are adding real value in a high growth area and look to enable the partners to make decent margins by empowering them with the right knowledge to go to market. We have identified some vendors in the wireless space. We will definitely make some announcements during Gitex.

As a group, we are in the unique position of leveraging our knowledge in training and education, networking, security as well as use our service facility to provide a proposition that a competitor at least from a re-

gional stand point can not match.


Nigel Hawthorn, VP, EMEA Marketing, Blue Coat System

Insight

Making Video Free what is productive and what is purely recreational. Just because video is coming from the Web does not necessarily mean that it lacks business value.

Comprehensively banning or blocking video in corporate networks is not only difficult to fully accomplish, but it is often counterproductive to the organization, writes Nigel Hawthorn, VP EMEA Marketing at Blue Coat System.

As video rapidly moves to the Internet and to corporate networks, companies and providers struggle with the situation: each viewer adds additional load on the network. The two places under the greatest strain are the company’s connection point to the Internet and the links to its branch offices. To date, the solution has largely been one of adding more bandwidth. While expensive, the remedy works for a relatively short amount of time until the network starts to sink under its increasing load. The other approach companies have tried is to limit the use of video by banning such things as YouTube and news sites with live video. Neither of these solutions is sustainable. Comprehensively banning or blocking video is not only difficult to fully accomplish, but it is often counterproductive to the organization. Most companies use YouTube or other content sites to host their own video, and many even have established their own branded channels and post video content on a regular basis. In addition, it is often difficult to make a judgment call over

Companies know that their ranks are increasingly being filled by workers from the “YouTube generation.” Employees are used to watching short videos for information, entertainment and even motivation. Often times, it may be easier to create a video than to write a sufficiently detailed document. Most companies are now actively using video for training, communication, morale building and other uses. Companies host their own on-demand material internally and also use external sites for the content. The expectation for corporate use of video continues to grow, and many firms are trying to develop plans to enable more use of video. Further intensifying the issue is the desire to use more live videocasts for company events and executive broadcasts. Currently more than half of the bandwidth of the Internet is now consumed by video. Most estimates have this going up to 90 percent over the next several years. Often, individuals turn to video from a website as their first source of information for breaking news and coverage of major sporting events, indicating a profound shift in behavior over previous generations who would go straight to a TV. Despite the massive amount of video viewing on the Web, it still only represents a small percent of overall viewing. This number will increase dramatically. The point is that network-delivered video will grow tremendously, and corporate networks will come under intense pressure. Companies are caught between the need to expand and facilitate the use of internal corporate video and manage the tidal wave of

video from the Web that can flood their critical network links without warning. One of the best strategies for companies is to pursue a plan for mitigating the impact of video from internal and external sources. This goes back to the citation of over-the-air broadcast television—a system of near infinite scale without compromise. By removing or lessening the “cost” or “penalty” of Web video, companies can avoid making difficult and, perhaps, counterproductive judgment calls on what can be allowed and what cannot. Another recommendation is to not fight or underestimate the power of video. Video is a medium that is here and now. Its use in the workplace is only growing in value and importance. If “a picture paints a thousand words,” video will deliver ten thousand or more. Use video to engage employees, partners and even customers. At the same time, video does not obliterate the value of the printed word. There are still many situations—most, really—where clear, concise writing is more appropriate and effective than video. Make sure to foster an environment where both video and written communication exist. Finally, encourage responsible employee behavior. Let the employee decide if watching a particular Web video is for business or personal benefit. If it is strictly personal, train your employees to wait until after peak hours. Web video expands and accelerates communications processes in substantial ways. Figure out how to embrace it wisely and let it scale across your organization, so that it can be better utilized as a tool and platform for collaboration and understanding.

October 2011

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Insight

Security and ‘the cloud’ While the cloud is a powerful generic concept, managing security risks should be dealt with in the same way as traditional on-premise solutions writes James Lyne, Director of Technology Strategy, Sophos in the article that follows. immature and haven’t yet built security in. Navigating through these offerings can feel like a potential minefield. James Lyne, Director, Technology Strategy, Sophos

Cloud computing can provide tremendous opportunities to streamline the use of IT but is an area where there is serious potential for abuse. We are seeing growing concern, and in many parts of the world increased regulation, around data protection. Both public and private sector therefore still have much to do to address the issues around cloud security and data protection. Part of the problem with ‘the cloud’ is that it encompasses a huge collection of similar technologies and products under one term. The result is a distinct lack of clarity around the security threat, with many applying generalised cloud security policies and practices to minimise the risk of data loss. While the cloud is a powerful generic concept, managing security risks should be dealt with in the same way as traditional on-premise solutions. A CIO doesn’t adopt ‘the cloud’, but a specific software solution, such as Salesforce.com, which is delivered via the cloud. Consequently, many companies have been put off adopting so-called cloud technologies, from which they might benefit. Underneath the cloud hype exists a real set of technologies, business models and services, many of which are at a stage of maturity to be safely adopted as long as they are subject to a specific set of policies and procedures. Businesses need to ask the right questions of providers when considering cloud, since many initial offerings are

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What are the security issues? From a security perspective, the two key areas of concern are loss of control of the data perimeter and the difficulties of controlling a 3rd party acting on your behalf. Today, 90% of the challenge of migration to the cloud is about contractual best practice and risk management, rather than the technology itself. Traditionally, with a strategic outsourcing provider you would stipulate concise contract conditions around expectations, deliverables and timeframes. To date, many companies using a cloud service sign a generalised agreement that loosely expects the provider to do everything in their interests, and does not contain the necessary clauses regarding security requirements and practices. These might cover how data is handled, what security controls they will run (i.e. patching), how they interface with the business and what the escalation channels are. Data flowing to and from the cloud, across a wide range of devices is also a significant challenge. Cloud providers may replicate regulated or sensitive data to servers located in a wide range of different geographies and users may access it and download data to all kinds of troublesome devices. Encryption and other such technologies which enable you to protect the data wherever it flows are critical to re-introduce the perimeter, not at the network but around the data. What should businesses consider? Organizations should look to their security provider to help establish a consist-

ent set of security policies for any type of user, using all kinds of technology. Consider using an integrated security solution to simplify protection of your users and data, whether on the road, in satellite offices or working in the cloud, and provide consistent protection and policies across endpoint, gateway, network and cloud. Cloud services are maturing and more buyers are beginning to challenge SaaS providers on their standard contracts and offerings, but those wishing to adopt the cloud should still consider: • The type and sensitivity of data. • What protection the SaaS provider has in place. • Handling authentication in a scalable and secure fashion. • Security controls to segregate your data from that of other parties and prevent abuse, e.g. anti-virus, encryption. • Resilience and business impact of downtime or failure. • Contractual conditions to specifically require key security controls and processes. • Regulatory compliance standards based on where the data is to be held and the type of data. • Notification practices in the event of a suspected or confirmed breach. You can’t outsource your obligations to protect your customers or your data. • Be cautious of bleeding edge adoption. How many others are using a service? Businesses should also: • Encrypt data to keep it safe wherever it flows. • Ensure devices are configured to use secure transports to cloud providers. • Never forget the basics. Protect endpoint clients and apply security controls like AV, DLP, Encryption, Password security.


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