Dan Panesar, regional sales director, Europe and global growth markets, UC and Network Security at Avaya, talks about how the company is raising channel partner security skills in the UC and networking space.
Talk us through the IT security readiness of the Middle East channel.
From a networking point of view, network security is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, whether from a customers’ or channel partners’ perspective. The challenge is more on the unified communications front. With the increasing adoption of SIP, unified communication security has become very relevant to the channel and is not yet properly addressed. This is not only in the Middle East but across the world where the biggest challenge faced by the channel is the lack of call to action: in most of the times, security breaches do not get reported to the channel and therefore, in most cases, there is no call to action. We as Avaya are very strong around the UC applications and the ability to deploy these on smart phones and tablets is a key differentiator. But at the same time, we must ensure that our customers have the right security approaches in place. Traditionally, people have assumed that security solutions covering networks are enough, and we are trying to change that perception; when we look at SIP as an application, it is necessary to have an application security solution for real time application communication, just like you have an email security solution or a web URL security solution. You now need a similar security solution for voice, video and instant messaging.
From your interaction with channel partners, what issues surrounding IT security are top of the agenda?
The ability to securely deploy applications on users own devices toped the agenda, in a secure manner and without the need for complex and VPN based solutions, which is the traditional model. We do this via the Avaya SBC (session border control) which is with advanced application security that enables not only SIP trunking, but also deployment of UC security applications using encryption, authentication and policy enforcement.
Are regional channel partners ready to tackle the security threats that their clients face in the market?
Yes. I think the entire vendor community is putting a great effort in bringing the channel up to speed on security issues. Along with our online channel partners university, we are touring the Avaya Global Growth Markets region to ensure that our partners have access to knowledge, tools, and capabilities that allows them to design, implement and support customers with existing and future BYOD plans. The channel is hungry for more sessions and continuous update and we’re doing that on multiple fronts, through continuous communication and training to the channel, continuous research by Avaya’s team, and the integration of all these efforts with Avaya’s Professional Services team, that continuously delivers penetration testing to our customers and highlight potential weakness areas.
What role should vendors such as Avaya be playing in helping their partners to have the right IT security skills sets?
The vendors ‘ role is two folded: increase awareness amongst channel partners and customers for the need to proactively implement a BYOD security strategy that involves SIP trunking through continuous training, and communication and as a responsible vendor, continue investing resources to proactively protect our customers. What we call for is that, Whenever enterprises deploy solutions involving SIP trunking, partners must champion a preventative approach and look at security solutions to mitigate any security related risks. This is a preventative approach should be a preventative approach, positioned alongside other. Security is paramount in the world we live in today and our partners and the rest of the IT community should be able to deliver mobile engagement with no restrictions or complicated procedures, whilst maintaining a secure end to end solution.
There are four steps that we recommend channel players proactively discuss with their customers:
- Ask the customer what application security solutions they have in place already.
- UC security should not be an afterthought. Include it in all conversations and designs
- Make sure you are adequately trained and certified to understand how these solutions need to be configured. Every solution is different.
In addition, I want to added that don’t be afraid to ask customers if they’ve suffered a security breach. Often, this can be at very sensitive subject, however, if you don’t ask, you will never be in a position to adequately meet the security concerns of the concerns.