Archives For gartner

Las Vegas Hotel Rooms are GreatSmall Businesses Need More Security Awareness

Just a few hours from now I’ll be presenting to business leaders in Las Vegas – Sponsored by ProStar

I think one of my favorite things about coming to Las Vegas is the hotels – always a great deal, and if I had brought my entire family (7 kids and one wife), we would all fit in this room (yes, that’s a picture of my room this week.) I could’t fit the entire room in the picture above, that’s just the living room and dining area.  But on to today’s event…

Important News Items (Sound Bites) You Should Know

Last week’s Gartner event bought out the importance of IoT – The Internet of Things. Expect this to be big business in the coming year.  Everything is going to be connected, if it’s not already. This morning’s WSJ reports that 64% of people surveyed think they can manage IoT security…keeping people out.  93% agreed that hacking into someone’s IoT was a form of burglary (which causes me to wonder what the other 7% think), but 64% are concerned that their IoT will be hacked.  Something’s not adding up here.

First, 100% of IoT implementations can be hacked. 100% of it should be considered theft, and it would be foolish for anyone to say they can manage their security without a problem.  We should all be concerned about this – I’ll be addressing this today in our meeting. The more we connect, the easier it is to manage life and business – with the exception of security. IoT is not a security improvement, it’s a downgrade in security.

The Amazon Web Services Event kicked off Last Week in Vegas…What About Cloud Security?

We know from earlier reports that 80% of small businesses will be on the cloud in the next 4 to 5 years. This statistic is old, so we are more like 4 years out now. I expect that to accelerate.  “Researchers in Massachusetts are raising new questions about the security of all multi-tenant cloud environments,” writes Brandon Butler, for Network World.  In a recent interview I did with Sklar Technology in Richmond VA. I pointed out that cloud vendors probably offer a safer world for SMB data than the SMB business itself can provide. I still believe this.  But after conducting numerous follow up assessments across the attendees of last week’s event, Sklar found companies using the cloud but severely lacking in security. They discovered companies with no back up at all, PCs infected with Bots, and host of other issues. These small businesses need security, but they don’t have the time or the resources to keep things up to date and guarded against evolving threats. As Butler points out, the cloud is not secure. In his article he reports that researchers were even able to steal the encryption keys used to lock down the Amazon Cloud data. Now that vulnerability has been patched, but software problems never go away. There’s always one more vulnerability waiting to be discovered. Each one is a likely entry point for hackers.

Today’s Event

Today’s event is just what Small Business Leaders Need. We’ll be meeting over lunch at the JW Marriott, just about 15 minutes off the “Strip”.  ProStar and their partners are hosting this to help educate the Small Business Leader Community – it’s invite only, but completely paid for thanks to the generosity of ProStar and their vendor partners.

© 2015, David Stelzl

PS. Are you a technology reseller?  If so, you might be eligible for free security sales training through the SVLC Security Sales Mastery Program.  We have multiple security sponsors willing to help resellers ramp up these important concepts. Contact us to see if you qualify. 


gartnerIoT – The Internet of Things Changes Security Forever

This week at Gartner, the Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the top 10 things to watch in 2016. Everything is digital – it’s the digital megatrend.  Software makes it easy to build things, change things, and connect things.  And this of course, leads to better customer experience, one the most neglected areas in past business plans, and an important focus for companies who want to grow in the coming year. Connecting things is part of the new customer experience.

Example: When it comes to home security, controlling your HVAC, or even turning on your oven to get the dinner started, you want to do it with your phone. We are coming to expect this…

Things in cars that used to be mechanical, like the gas peddle, are now digital – in many of the cars being built today, the peddle is actually controlling a software switch to tell the engine to speed up.  In the hospital, drugs that used to be injected into IV systems, are now dispensed with software. It’s all connected. In theory its more accurate and easier to update and modify.

The problem is, security in this new world has to change.

You’ve seen the car video – the one where the hacker breaks into a car his friend is driving to demonstrate that, not only can he access the car, he can completely take control of it. This is the case with much of the critical infrastructure around us including dams, sewage systems, elevators, and the future drone mail delivery system Amazon keeps talking about.

As Gartner speaker Christian Byrnes pointed out this week, lives are at risk as we move this direction. The IoT is going to happen, but how will companies secure it? This is exactly how Target was hacked, through the HVAC system.

Today I will be addressing business leaders in Richmond Virginia, at a special luncheon held at the Jepson Alumni Center. Thanks to Sklar Technology Partners and their technology sponsors for making this important session available. Small businesses in our country are under attack, and many of them don’t know it. Their technology vendors will encourage them to move to the cloud, connect to their customers, and leverage all kinds of technology (such as IoT) to create a more connected business. All of this will help them grow if they do it right. But without the proper security in place, it may lead to disaster. And as Byrnes pointed out in his session this week, “When people start dying, it can’t be good for business.”

© 2015, David Stelzl

The New Data Center

The New Data Center

IT Spending Is Shrinking – The Cloud Is Growing

If you happen to be selling hardware to Amazon or Google, you’re probably in good shape. Especially if you sell storage. Cloud storage requirements are growing. IT spending isn’t.

Steve Norton, contributor for the Wall Street Journal published some figures last week from Gartner and others that should serve as a wake up call to you if you are a technology reseller – especially if you are selling to the small or mid-sized businesses.

Here’s What Gartner Predicts:

“Global IT spending will shrink 1.3% to $3.66 trillion in 2015 amid a strong U.S. dollar, slowing PC sales and a continued switch to software-as-a-service, research firm Gartner Inc.IT -0.72% said in its latest quarterly forecast.” They were calling for 2.4% growth. New predictions are negative. 1.3% might not sound like a big deal, but you can multiply that for small companies looking to cut costs. They’re likely to move to cloud services first. Forrester was calling for 80% of these companies to be in the cloud within 5 years, but the time is shorter now. In other words, expect it to be far less than 5 years.

Also from Gartner: “Microsoft killed the XP licenses, but people are still running XP,” Gartner analyst John Lovelock told CIO Journal. “PCs are plummeting, but there is still a desire to get some of that new functionality.” In other words, people are going to keep their old computers and run their apps from the cloud – Microsoft 365, Google Apps, etc.

Steve Norton’s Comments:

“Gartner noted a substantial reduction in their forecast for office suite spending, reflecting an uptick in adoption of cloud services like Microsoft Corp.’s Office 365”, says Steve Norton.

He also notes that “IT services spending is forecasted to shrink…this year, with the largest drop seen in implementation services.” Expect it to drop more than you think. With Microsoft moving more to the cloud, your support services will be in less demand.  Less infrastructure also means less installation. The smaller the business, the less likely it is that they’ll be adding servers or disk.

What About Managed Services?

This is clearly becoming a price war. Managed services is a commodity business right now, and it will get worse.  Many of the resellers I am working with tell me their prospects just want to know how much they charge per device. That’s a bad sign!  They are also being undercut with low prices from both very large providers and the guy who works out of his garage.

Security is Still In Play

The good news is, there’s still a strong market for technology. Amazon will certainly cash in on cloud services. Apple is killing it with the iPhone. But you can grow too if you’re selling something clients really need. Security demand will continue to grow. The more companies more to mobile devices and cloud apps, the less secure they’ll be. There’s also an opportunity to move upstream with compliance and assessment offerings. Firewall management is not what I’m talking about.

Consider services like hosting policy, ongoing assessments, event correlation services, and monitoring for breaches. The small business can’t afford the technology required to detect a breach, and they most certainly can’t staff a team of responders. Virtual CISO services are another great offering. People need help with their security strategy as they move toward digitization. The CISO function will become more important for smaller companies, yet still unaffordable.

© 2015, David Stelzl

P.S. Find out how to sell into the security market…. (Read More)

targetDo you depend on the Gartner reports to predict this year’s business growth?  Don’t.

A few months ago Gartner projected 3.9% growth in IT spending. More recently this was downgraded to 2.4%. Does it matter? Perhaps. If you’re a major shareholder at Cisco or EMC you might be worried.  But if you’re a rep selling technology, manage a VAR, or spend your time consulting on technology, it really doesn’t matter.


Join Us for an informative session on how to grow your business using security! Sponsored by eGestalt!

The real question is, are you selling the right stuff? Software will grow about 5% according to Gartner, data center will be at about 1.8%.  If you’ve attended my training classes or read my books, I predicted this. VoIP isn’t even mentioned.  No surprise here. It’s a commodity. So is most infrastructure. I wrote back in 2007 that VoIP would die out within 10 years as a strong profit driver for most. If you provide a managed VoIP service you might still have a business, but it’s a commodity like most managed offerings. I also pointed out that Data Center is not a discontinuous innovation on Geoffrey Moore’s model (Insider the Tornado), and so you can’t expect it to act like one in terms of sustained profitability. The 1.8% growth Gartner has given us is pretty low compared the other growth areas.

Computerworld ranks it like this:


If you work on infrastructure, you’ll want to beef up your security offerings. If your income comes from managed services, make sure security is central to your offering – everything else is a $/seat sale – total commodity. If you work on the software side you want to be in the cloud, investing your time in analytics and intelligence or customer experience.  Everything else is destined to decline.  You’ll be competing on price.

How Much Will Gartner’s Number Affect Your Salary?

If you sell things people need – like security and customer experience, you’re selling something everyone will be buying. The question is, “Will they buy it from you?” It’s a value proposition and unique positioning statement question.

Value Proposition: This why people do business with you rather than someone else. If you’ve been in an account for a long time, don’t assume they’ll stay with you. Companies are demanding more and more in terms of customer experience. Recently my daughter, who owns a natural healthcare products business, asked me if she should refund a customer’s shipping charges on a product they didn’t like. “Of course!” I won’t do business with someone who won’t refund my money. A great buying experience is critical to your value prop.  But you also need differentiation of products and services. If all you do is resell a product, its time to wrap some consulting / advisory services around. Again, security is the most important thing you can possibly bring to your client.

Unique Positioning Statement: This is the message that sets you apart from everyone else. There are dozens of choices when it comes to buying infrastructure. Software is even worse – no one really has to come onsite. So what can you say to grab your prospect’s attention? The technology companies out there are spending very little on training when it comes to great messaging…big mistake. This is the first thing a customer experiences. If it’s not great, it won’t go any further.  In my book, The House & The Cloud I provide a number of ways to do this. One concept parallels The Challenger Sale. It’s coming in with a predictable message.  80% of your client’s security budgets are being spent on the wrong security controls – attempts to sure up the perimeter. Very little is being spent on technology that will detect an intrusion. In my book I explain why this is so important…but to get you started, the perimeter is an outdated concept. Mobility and BYOD have taken the data outside the firewall.  There’s much more to it…if you want to stay relevant, focus on what’s really needed, develop offerings that help clients move from their current state to a secure one, and be prepared to offer ongoing support, with security as the central part of that offering.

© 2015, David Stelzl

P.S.  eGestalt, a cloud based security management company is sponsoring a great session (online) in February. I’ll be presenting strategies to grow your business by adding cloud based detection and response offerings – the next step in developing a strong security offering… you can attend by registering here:

Build Your Business On Security  <<< Click to Sign Up For The Event!


March 24, 2011 — Leave a comment

A question came in today asking, “What is the difference between ROI and TCO?  Our company uses the terms interchangeably.”

This is common…but they really are different.  Here is some explanation:

I use the term TCO specifically to mean that it will cost you less to produce the same or better results.  By focusing more on business results and less on cost, the seller has a chance to avoid a true ROI study; which may be analogous to asking the CFO to audit your proposal.  The last person I want to sell this to is a CFO (or anyone in the purchasing department).  Once the focus on business moves to finances, value is compared only to the cost of other options, and not on the value you bring to the business.

You might think of ROI as purely mathematical.  One way to describe it is:

ROI = (Financial Gain – Cost of the Investment)/ Cost of the Investment.

True ROI calculations involve a deal’s net present value ( taking into consideration  a proposal’s future estimated cash flow the cost of capital), payback period or hurdle rate, and an internal rate of return.  In other words, ROI at its core is a math problem dealing with investments, returns, and the cost of capital.  The average sales person’s ability to compute these numbers, or even review them with a financial officer is limited in most cases.

TCO might be defined as the cost of acquisition, installation, and operation.  In this case, we can take into consideration only the current solution and whatever solutions might be under consideration or in use at the present time.  Gartner Group often reports TCO numbers for various technologies,  taking into consideration the above as well as long term operations and future replacement or decommissioning of a technology solution.  When TCO is fairly evident, meaning one solution might involve many smaller servers or appliances that require data center real estate, cooling, and possibly additional staff, it makes sense to use this as justification to buy your solution.

I put this under operational efficiency because the cost savings generally are tied to an efficiency gained by the solution, and that is where the seller’s focus needs to stay.  To focus on the math is to kill the deal, unless the customer is already determined to buy, and is just price shopping at this point.

© 2011, David Stelzl