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Dell Leads Trio Of Partners Offering SMB Security

Dell is partnering with Juniper Networks and a security services firm called SecureWorks to offer a portfolio of solutions aimed at the small-to-medium-sized business market, which is increasingly facing the same security issues as enterprises without the same budgets. Dell announced Wednesday that it is introducing the Dell KACE K1000 Management Appliance line that combines general system management features with specific end-point security features, such as vulnerability assessment and remediation, patch management and configuration enforcement.

The appliances are from Dell's acquisition of KACE, which closed in February. Juniper is introducing four Dell-branded J-SRX Services Gateways for network security, which  provide firewall, VPN, intrusion prevention, anti-spam, anti-virus and web filtering technologies. Pricing for four models ranges from $645 to $1,155. "These models are specifically packaged, priced and tailored to the mid-market customer and are exclusive to Dell," said Alex Gray, a senior vice president with Juniper Networks,who appeared with Dell and SecureWorks executives at a news conference in San Francisco. SecureWorks will provide consulting and support services, filling the gaps in resources, technology, expertise and time to help companies ensure they can cover the security issues that they are facing.

SMBs face increasingly complex security issues as their businesses grow, but their IT budgets don't always keep pace. They face the same security threats from hackers, viruses and software vulnerabilities as larger IT systems, as well as the same security compliance requirements from industry and government regulators. Eighty percent of SMB representatives surveyed this year by Enterprise Management Associates said security has become more difficult for them to manage, including 23 percent who said it is significantly more difficult to manage, said Scott Crawford, an analyst with the firm. In addition, finding budget funds to hire security IT staff was rated as a "very significant to extremely significant" problem by 69 percent of SMBs surveyed, versus 27 percent of large enterprises. "They have the same complexity of security issues as larger companies but, unlike larger companies, they don't have the same level of resources to deal with them," said Paulette Altmaier, Dell vice president for SMB solutions.

While citing Gartner research that 60 percent of SMBs "would like to go to one vendor" for their security solutions, Dell wants to partner with these other firms to jointly provide that one place to go, Altmaier said. With the partnership, Dell hopes to gain a larger piece of the global SMB security market, which Gartner estimates may grow to $27 billion by 2013, from $20 billion in 2010, she said.

SMB security issues often evolve as growing companies develop their security on an piece-by-piece basis as they go along, added Peter Adams, vice president of customer relations for Lighthouse Information Systems, a management consulting and IT outsourcing firm for businesses.  "IT has basically grown ad hoc to a certain point. Then there is usually some trigger event, usually negative, and we come in to fix that," Adams said. He tells SMB clients that their IT environment needs to be designed to match what they're trying to accomplish in their business.