As Australia’s fastest growing cyber security distributor, Orca Tech is in a unique position to help partners face one of this year’s biggest challenges: cyber resilience in the face of rapidly evolving threats and vulnerabilities.
“Security is not cheap, but not being secure can be disastrous as demonstrated by the various high-profile breaches of the last 18 months,” according to Orca Technology’s ANZ general manager, Craig Ashwood.
In fact, guiding partners is in its DNA: The security specialist distributor has already significantly impacted the Australian channel with an extraordinary 1059 percent growth rate over three years, securing the 4th position among the fastest-growing technology companies in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Australia 2020.
Notably, the company was named the 2023 first Infoblox APJ Sapphire Partner, and the 2023 SentinelOne Distributor of the Year APJ Region.
“From its inception, Orca Technology has aimed to stand out as a specialised distributor in cyber security,” Ashwood says.
“Unlike many competitors, who include cybersecurity as part of their overall strategy, Orca Tech has steadfastly focused on being a dedicated cyber security specialist. The resounding message from our extensive partner network is clear: they seek a distribution partner that wakes up every morning with a singular focus on cyber security – that partner is Orca Technology.”
Partner specialisation, strategic vendor selection
Certainly, the distributor’s rapid growth rate underscores the crucial significance of understanding your partners within the IT security distribution realm and opting for partners who provide specialisation, elevating standards in agility, trustworthiness, and flexibility.
Ashwood shed light on the company’s journey and the unique factors that set them apart in the cyber security distribution market.
“For a relatively young player in the industry, we have made significant strides, experienced rapid growth, and positioned ourselves as one of the fastest-growing cyber security distributors. We attribute the success to a combination of strategic vendor selection, a tailored go-to-market approach, and the ability to adapt quickly to market trends.”
He says its commitment to agility, trustworthiness, and a unique approach sets the company apart. “We prioritise partner enablement, providing essential tools for success in the ultra-competitive industry. With a comprehensive portfolio covering various cybersecurity solutions and a value-added distribution model, we ensure both partners and vendors have the resources needed to drive incremental revenue.”
Trends to Watch in 2024
From that viewpoint, and with its distinct market standing, Ashwood delivers practical advice to cyber security system integrators, MSSPs, and partners across ANZ.
As partners ramp up for 2024, the challenging aspect of security lies in the “delicate balance” organisations must maintain between the substantial cost of cyber security and the potentially catastrophic risks associated with neglecting it, he says.
“Achieving this balance requires a deep understanding of an organisation’s unique circumstances and a proactive, flexible approach to mitigating threats in an ever-changing digital landscape.”
That’s why cyber security stands as one of the most rapidly advancing trends and consistently ranks among the top three topics of discussion for every channel partner and MSSP, according to Ashwood. Common partner pain points include a lack of cyber resilience; a scarcity of security professionals; a lack of return on investment for cyber security expenditures; pricing pressures; and customer churn.
“The growth within cyber security is phenomenal – what’s usually front of mind for channel partners is how to reduce costs, and deliver improved cyber security outcomes.”
This comes at a particularly opportune moment, given the escalating pace in the face of increasing incidents of cyber security breaches. The Australian Signals Directorate’s Australian Cyber Security Centre reported a 13% surge in cybercrime reports during the fiscal year 2021/22 compared to the preceding financial year.
As high-profile breaches continue to make headlines, the need for cyber resilience has never been more critical – and partners need to be prepared on a multitude of fronts, especially in response to the latest advancements in technology.
“In the cyber community, innovation often stems from collaborations and forums. Cyber resilience evolves through the exploration of new and emerging platforms, coupled with continuous iterations that enhance the cyber security posture of the IT channel. The ultimate result is the early detection and effective response to emerging threats in the market.”
Automation in Cyber Security: Unleashing the Power of AI
At the core of this journey is exploration, with automation being a crucial element. Automation, according to Ashwood, serves as the guiding beacon in cybersecurity, unlocking the transformative power of AI.
“With the convergence of data science and machine learning, a third generation of automation emerges, driven by human-guided machine learning. This advanced automation enables the detection of anomalous malicious behaviour with exceptional accuracy, with minimal human intervention.”
In that vein, Orca has forged an integral partnership with Vectra AI, which heralds a new chapter in Orca Tech’s cyber security history.
Vectra AI brings over a decade of machine learning expertise to the table, applying deep learning and neural networks to automatically detect and prioritise threats across complex environments.
“This partnership allows cyber security professionals to automatically detect and prioritise threats across various environments, streamlining the response to cyber threats,” he says.
“Imagine an environment where you can ingest attack signals from multi-cloud, multi-endpoint, multi-SAAS, identities, datacentres and traditional on-premises environments and determine what threats are real, what threats matter, and how to respond.”
Certainly, the integration of automation and AI is poised to streamline processes, augment capabilities, and bridge the gap in addressing the persistent challenges posed by the shortage of qualified cyber security professionals.
This development is a positive boon for the MSSP community, as Ashwood points out. Automation, he highlights, optimises the execution of routine tasks and processes, empowering MSSPs to manage a considerable volume of security operations with efficiency.
Additionally, solutions driven by AI offer the ability to scale their functionalities, effectively overseeing the increasing complexity of devices, networks, and threats. This ensures that MSSPs can adeptly meet the expanding requirements of their clients.
XDR on the radar – Exciting Frontier in Cyber Security
Next to automation and AI, Extended Detection and Response(XDR) across multiple disciplines should be on every partner’s radar, Ashwood says, calling it “one of the most exciting developments” in the security arena across multiple disciplines.
Emphasising the broader context and incorporating all aspects of the IT lifecycle, he says the industry’s XDR framework offers a holistic approach to cybersecurity.
“Having the best tool to address a single problem can be very exciting, but we need to have a broader context and include all aspects of the IT lifecycle in the application of the XDR framework for every IT function we engage with.”
What additional trends are on the horizon for 2024? Ashwood encourages partners to monitor the following:
- Vulnerable Handheld Devices: The ever-increasing use of mobiles and tablets creates a pressing need for improved security, as these devices currently lack adequate security tools.
- Identity Exploitation: A burgeoning trend is the exploitation of various forms of identity, including user accounts, service accounts, and federations of identities across different groups. This challenge requires a reduction in the attack surface while grappling with legitimate identities.
- Multi-Hybrid Cloud Attacks: The industry faces the challenge of adapting to multi-cloud environments, leading to the demand for extended detection and response functionalities.
Empowering Profitable Partnerships
Certainly, navigating the dynamic realm of cyber security trends demands expert guidance. Partnerships play a crucial role in providing the necessary support for adaptation and excellence in this swiftly evolving security landscape, Ashwood notes.
Ashwood says by prioritising efficiency and effectiveness in the cyber security posture, partners can unlock incremental revenue and achieve a more profitable outcome. But it’s crucial to bear in mind that if the starting point of a cyber security discussion revolves around pricing, everyone involved is inherently at a disadvantage, Ashwood notes.
“The metrics Orca Tech use when engaging in a cyber security discussion is about velocity. More specifically the time to detect, time to respond, time to recover, time to value. If any given solution doesn’t meet some or all of these criteria, pricing is irrelevant,” Ashwood says.
Indeed, a profitable channel, as Ashwood notes, is more likely to cultivate enduring partnerships.
“Engage with Orca Tech as early as you can in your cyber security journey. There’s always room to be more efficient and effective in your cyber security posture that will derive more incremental revenue with a more profitable outcome. A profitable channel will always be more engaged to build long-lasting partnerships.”