Started working with NEXTGEN: 2017
Current role: National Security Director
Paul Lancaster, National Security Director at NEXTGEN, is an expert in his field. With more than 20 years’ experience working with vendors, including 16 years of specialisation in data recovery and security technology, Paul draws on his expertise sharing key insights on NEXTGEN's Enterprise Security Portfolio and the wider Enterprise Security marketplace.
Q. What’s the main focus of NEXTGEN’s Enterprise Security Practice?
We’re reviewing a number of security segments relating to operations, applications, infrastructure, web, and data security. We are also seeing an increase in the number of vulnerabilities related to enterprise security. NEXTGEN has also identified gaps in the market for innovative cybersecurity solutions. We understand the market demand and we’re reviewing technologies in these segments as part of NEXTGEN’s Enterprise Security Practice. We’re very focused on providing an avenue to market for key security vendor technologies that are new to this region, promoting their services and building out our capabilities to cover the array of industries and associated services.
Underpinned by a commitment to innovation at NEXTGEN, the Security Practice has added security vendors such as Cybereason, Micro Focus, CA and Skybox Security. These vendors solutions cover an array of security segments protecting mission-critical assets.
Q. How has NEXTGEN’s Enterprise Security Practice progressed in the past six months?
We’re increasingly building out our portfolio, working closely on evaluating the technologies associated to today’s emerging trends in security. NEXTGEN’s focus has been to recruit specialist vendors with advanced and innovative capabilities and our current technology portfolio is extensive covering everything from vulnerability control, application security, predictive analytics, advanced threat prevention and many more security segments.
In addition, NEXTGEN has also hosted numerous vendor partner training days, which has received a great response from the channel partners. The success of these training sessions has been measured through our increasing involvement with major corporate and public sector agencies. NEXTGEN has become a representative body for all its vendors.
Q. How do you see the Enterprise Security Practice evolving from here and what does it mean for NEXTGEN partners?
We need to focus on the current sector and build this portfolio in the way of partners, customers and services. The inclusion of an enterprise security portfolio to NEXTGEN’S distribution business has created new opportunities for NEXTGEN’s ANZ channel partners to take to market new security solutions and services for their customer base. Future looks good, we plan to grow the partner community along each of the security segments and also focus on the vertical sectors.
Q. What do you see as the next big trend in Enterprise Security technology and what opportunities does this present to partners?
Generally, trends have been fairly constant over the past year with the focus on Cyber Security, followed by Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning, IoT devices, Cloud and mobile to name a few. These technologies cover an array of solutions and products, and not to mention customer investment.
Solutions vs. products
- Increased investment in enterprise and cyber security is currently top of mind at a board level. Increased investment in infrastructure to support security associated technologies is also now commanding an increase in the business budgets.
- The customer investment level is focusing on the compliance and assurance that there connected devices, network security, and operations are secure. This presents partners with an opportunity to build business strategies around these trends and deliver on the needs of the customer leveraging the ROI on there already invested technologies.
Q. What do you see as the greatest challenges and/or threats to Enterprise Security Practice in 2018-19?
- Application Risk exposure: Engaging with Vendors that have the key technologies to address the risk of exposure to a business, at any level, at any time. Threats, exploits, business and technical impacts.
- Vulnerabilities: Utilising vendor’s solutions that reduce the impact that could possibly have a great effect on business. Vulnerability management tools need to be able to be configured to offer multiple ways to identify threats in the assets that control today’s infrastructure and environments.
- Cloud Migration: The greatest challenge here is the amount of information involved. Migration is a strategy and requires a plan to entail the ability to scale and protect data whilst migrating. There are challenges associated to Cloud Migration and education on the security solutions from encryption to visibility of Container images
- Regulatory challenges: The implementation of the GDPR has introduced a new level of complexity for businesses. Security and data management investment is required to meet GDPR compliance standards.
- Data volumes: Many businesses don’t realise how much data they actually have or what data is classed as their business data V’s unstructured). A great example of this is a business’ POS, it is an extremely complex environment that contains extensive amounts of data e.g. credit card information, personal details, purchase records etc.
- IOT security: The risks of unsecured IoT devices in your business. Industrial and Energy organisations require predictive insights and the ability to leverage the intelligence from their invested technologies. Analytics at both a machine and sensor level are key.
- Compliance & Risk: Utilising Vendors technologies to have the ability to manage risk and compliance whilst fully securing their business. This encompasses many security segments from patch management to incident response associated to security operations.
Q. What is your vendor recruitment strategy and rationale behind the current vendor portfolio? How do these vendors fit into NEXTGEN’s overall strategy?
NEXTGEN engages leading global enterprise security software companies that are uniquely positioned to deliver on partner and customer requirements in a constantly changing landscape. We also review vendors in their business segments and areas of technology. The connection to partners capabilities is key.
We recognise the security needs of customers are changing rapidly, there is also a growing convenience to deliver software-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service. Digital transformation is driving business, consolidation and there is a big variation in the technologies and platforms vendors and partners are delivering. These factors have contributed to the evolution of the modern “meshed" channel model, and NEXTGEN as an agile, flexible distributor aligns our vendors and partners.
Q. How does the investment in a security practice differentiate NEXTGEN?
NEXTGEN’s approach to our security practice allows us to be diverse in the solutions we bring to the channel market and invest time in Vendors technology’s that are early adopters in new markets.
Our goal is to build a portfolio of security vendor’s technologies that are segmented across data and cyber security and are recognised as leading technologies in their sector. We are also very conscious of vendors’ products that overlap in specific solution spaces which positions us as a unique distributor.
Q. What advice would you give partners in terms of maximising investment in selling and servicing security solutions?
Partners are very specific in the security segments they deliver, very much in the terms of subject matter experts, maximizing their investments in selling and a consultative security approach for selling solutions. Focusing on specific segments of their customers' security posture and leveraging the ROI on their existing platforms. Also, talent in security and specific security segments in IT takes time to come up to speed and it can be undervalued. Retaining talent is extremely valuable to deliver a great customer outcome.