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Kymber Lowe Senior Director, Global Partner Enablement, Global Partner Solutions

The enablement advantage: optimizing your security practice

Two IT professionals looking at their laptops at a workstation.

This is the third blog in a series on enablement resources by Kymber Lowe, Senior Director of Global Partner Enablement at Microsoft. This entry will explore the Security solution area and relevant resources. Parts one and two of the series are available on the Microsoft Partner blog.

Security is a remarkably dynamic solution area, with evolving technologies, emerging threats, and reimagined workforces constantly creating new security challenges. Keeping identities, devices, applications, and data secure is a top priority for organizations—and there are many opportunities for partners to provide customized security solutions or additional IT capacity for customers. Perhaps the greatest opportunity is helping companies secure their shifts to remote or hybrid work. Protecting a remote workforce often involves building cloud security systems, which can offer increased flexibility and scalability but may require additional staffing to monitor and mitigate threats.

Microsoft has a range of tools designed to keep customers secure, including Microsoft Defender services, BitLocker, and the ability to manage mobile devices with Intune. To help partners maximize their value to customers, we have developed several enablement resources for the security space—from marketing strategies and sales support to technical training. Additionally, partners can access a wealth of information and insights by consulting our cloud practice playbooks—developed by partners for partners. Relevant to the security solution area are our Secure Remote Work and Security playbooks.

Offering full-scale protection

Proper security infrastructure gives companies a solid foundation for building additional processes. For partners, this means helping customers adopt a Zero Trust security model based on the principle of “never trust, always verify.” Under this model, every access request is authenticated, authorized within policy constraints, and inspected for anomalies before granting access. Once the organization has understood the Zero Trust approach, partners can move forward with expanding Microsoft security services through Microsoft Azure, 3rd party clouds, and on-premises environments.

Managed service providers can offer additional specialization and capacity for customers’ IT teams to take advantage of Microsoft services. By migrating and optimizing security workloads with Azure and Microsoft 365, partners create an opportunity for future, long-term support. Building integrated security systems also enables partners and customers to identify, assess, and mitigate security risks more effectively.

The COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to have caused a 3x increase in remote work, introducing new and unique security challenges. The new devices, apps, and work locations associated with remote or hybrid workforces must be secured while allowing employees access to company resources, communications, and assets. The Secure Remote Work playbook can help partners navigate this emerging market opportunity and go to market with their flexible security solutions.

Closing the security skills gap

Whatever your cybersecurity role, we offer trainings to hone and enhance your technical skills. As the rate of change in technology outpaces skills development, many IT leaders are concerned about emerging gaps in the skills needed to address current and future threats. That’s why Microsoft has developed on-demand training courses on security, compliance, and identity topics.

We also offer certifications on security fundamentals, as well as role-based credentials for positions including administrators, analysts, and productivity solutions experts. Not only are certifications an excellent way to refine your skills, they are a marketable differentiator in helping customers determine which partner is best able to meet their needs. These certifications are also valuable as partners move toward competencies and advanced specializations in the security solution area.

Securing the sale

Security can be a key component of sales opportunities, as companies of various sizes will be looking for someone to govern their data estate, develop a secure remote work plan, or offer threat protection. Microsoft has designed learning paths for both enterprise and SMB sales engagements, consisting of comprehensive asset libraries, meeting facilitation videos, role-plays, as well as security and compliance best practices. We’ve also created a space for Customer Digital Experiences, which enables partners to build fully functional demo environments with sample data that can be used for self-learning as well as pre-sales demonstrations with customers.

All Microsoft partners have access to our broad portfolio of go-to-market resources, which include on-demand, digital marketing campaigns aligned to each solution area. With specific marketing campaign content tailored to security, we are committed to helping partners accelerate their time-to-market and reach new customers. Additionally, we’ve recently launched the Partner Go-to-Market Toolbox, an online platform that allows partners to grow their business through personalized and actionable marketing plans and to easily develop high-quality, solution-specific co-branded materials – based on their marketing initiatives – in 10 different languages. It’s currently available to partners with a gold competency or ISV partners with a co-sell incentive eligible offer.

With many customers reevaluating their security systems and needs, the opportunity is ripe for partners to help them remain current with the latest technology trends. Partners who can navigate the constantly shifting cyber landscape have an opportunity to position their organizations to meet customer needs in a way that their competitors can’t.

I hope you’ll take advantage of our library of security resources, and come back for my next post in this series where I’ll discuss our far-reaching partner sales opportunities.