Security has always been a challenge for SMBs. And adding threats delivered over mobile phones, social networks and numerous other platforms generally serves to put small businesses further behind in terms of their security posture.
GFI Software is attempting to fill in those security blanks with a three-fold solution, which combines antivirus, patch management and mobile device management, targeted squarely at the SMB. Specifically, the solution, VIPRE Business Premium, hopes to differentiate itself in the market with the addition of features that address bigger and more comprehensive security challenges faced by all market segments, but more acute in the SMB. That gives partners new avenues to discuss emerging threats with customers, and present holistic solutions that appeal to an SMB need for simplicity and cost-effectiveness. But ultimately, it speaks to the increasingly complexity of the threat environment in all market segments, indicating that partners will likely have to hit up SMB customers on multiple security fronts.
“Truth of the matter is, antivirus is not enough, antivirus alone is not enough,” said Mark Patton, general manager of GFI’s security business unit. “We knew it was time to expand out of antivirus, and introduce some new technology. This is quantum leap, our customers don’t want antivirus, they want security.”
And one of the biggest selling points in the VIPRE solution is patch management, Patton said. It’s no secret that SMBs — like many other market segments– struggle to adequately and effectively patch all third-party applications, software and operating system vulnerabilities. According to GFI’s own research, third-party software vulnerabilities account for 75 percent of malware and virus infections that plague SMBs.
As such, GFI Software hopes to position its solution as the answer to some of those problems.To that end, patch management capabilities are embedded in the premium version of the VIPRE solution, equipped with automatic updates of any outdated software and vulnerability scans aimed at preventing customers from potentially overlooking security holes.
Similarly, all market segments are struggling to rein in and secure the explosion of mobile devices onboarding their networks as the result of the BYOD phenomenon. However, as with many burgeoning technology trends, those pain points are likely felt most acutely in the SMB, Patton said.
Likewise VIPRE Business Premium also incorporates an MDM component, equipped with remote wipe features for smartphones and tablets. Android protections include antivirus and remote alarm and location features while iPad and IPhone defenses include remote lock and password enforcement.
The comprehensive security solution also touts a slew of security add-ons, including Mac and desktop security, unprotected and infected network PC identification, auto removal of existing antivirus software and removable device scanning.
For the channel, the multi-faceted product enables partners to renew entry and rejuvenate security conversations with SMB customers by addressing multiple security challenges with one solution. Specifically, that means an opportunity to dust off patch management education and consulting services – a topic generally not top of mind for SMBs – aimed at raising awareness about zero day threats and other browser based exploits delivered via outdated and unlatched software. And that renewed interest in patch management will, in turn, open doors for a plethora of customizable SMB services.
Meanwhile, GFI is clearly attempting to make its mark by breaking out of the antivirus straitjacket and diversifying with a more comprehensive solution that addresses multiple challenges at once. And these days, both patch management and MDM are strong bets.
A TechNavio report projected that the vulnerability management market would likely grow at a CAGR of 12.2 percent between 2011 and 2014, attributed to increasingly stringent compliance requirements and related security solutions that can accommodate multiple platforms.
Meanwhile, another TechNavio report indicates that MDM is on a set course for explosive growth, likely growing at a CAGR of 31.66 percent between 2011 and 2015.
That said, there are a lot of players in these arenas that will likely give GFI a run for its money. However, with patch management for example, many of the biggest competitors have migrated upstream, catering to the enterprise in an effort to boost profits and expand marketshare.
And where GFI is hoping to carve out its own niche is in smallest of SMB markets — 500 seats and fewer. It’s a segment in which there is great need and demand for security. But because of unique SMB challenges, such as budget, staffing and infrastructure, it’s also a market not necessarily crowded with an army of dedicated security players or solutions.
Even still, GFI is hardly the first antivirus firm to launch a patch management solution targeting the SMB. But in the long run, there is still a lot of room for the channel to more keenly focus on SMB needs.
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