The analyst firm Canalys annually produces their Cybersecurity Leadership Matrix. Whereas many third-party assessments are looking at just the security product, this one focuses on the value to channel partners.
Sidebar: what is the channel? If you aren’t actively buying or selling cybersecurity and aren’t familiar with the term, the short answer is that the channel is how products get from the maker to the buyer. Resellers are the most commonly discussed example, however the channel is also distributors, system integrators, and others. Most established cybersecurity makers don’t have a big sales force that sells direct, for good reasons. Channel partners are usually not a single product seller, and they know a region, vertical or specific customer best and are ideally the end users’ de facto partner or trusted advisor. The channel dedicated for smaller companies sell more than just cybersecurity and can be an extension of the CIO team. Channel partners select products carefully: they are usually in for a much longer period of time and more of a commitment than a specific buyer.
Partners have to train staff, make significant investments, become familiar with the product and back it with their reputation. Features alone aren’t enough. Even the very best product that isn’t backed with a channel friendly vendor is a nightmare for the channel. Of course, bad products are a non-starter no matter how channel-friendly a company is as that reseller has to live with any fallout. Assessing channel success matters obviously to the channel but it is also significant for buyers. Channel partner success at the end of the day is a simple metric: a positive customer experience throughout a product lifecycle. In my experience a channel partner will do a more thorough product assessment than any enterprise buyer.
Canalys does a good job in capturing the channel aspects of a successful cybersecurity vendor with the leadership matrix, and they make it more than just about product or channel but combine the two. So, it is good news that Trend Micro is in the upper right “Champions” quadrant in 2020. It’s significant to me that Trend Micro is one of only seven entries in that quadrant when there are, according to Richard Stiennon, more than 2300 cybersecurity vendors in the world. What is particularly significant to me is that the placement movement for Trend from last 2019 was so important, as it reflects the effort and focus we have put on our channel activities.