With its best-of-breed applications services, F5 ensures businesses securely migrate to multi-cloud environments
“Our channel expansion plans include engagement with OEMs, supported by our strong partnership with cloud service providers like Microsoft, AWS, GCP, and Redhat, contributing to our growth in 2022.”
Edgar Dias, Regional Vice President of Channel and Partnerships for Asia Pacific at F5, Inc.
The Pandemic has forced businesses to shift to online operations and there has been a massive adoption of remote working culture and online learning, resulting in digitalisation on an unprecedented scale. Along with the shift to online has also come an unacceptable rise in cybersecurity issues.
With rising ransomware cyberattacks on IT infrastructure, businesses have realized the importance of embracing zero tolerance for gaps in their security strategy. They are increasingly investing on strengthening their cybersecurity to secure their crown jewels and their valuable data. This has thrown open a big opportunity for cybersecurity players.
As the India market remains in the eye of a major digital transformation buoyed by a tech-centred Union Budget, SME Channels embarks upon recording the voices of the who’s who of the Cybersecurity landscape.
As part of our effort to make the voices of major security players heard by the channel community, here is the Security Predictions from Security major F5.
In a special interaction with SME Channels, Edgar Dias, Regional Vice President of Channel and Partnerships for Asia Pacific at F5, Inc., reveals his organization’s strategy to address growing need for security solutions from customers, his predictions for the cybersecurity industry in 2022 and his vision and plans for the channel community. Edited excerpts…
Please give a brief introduction to your company
F5 is multi-cloud application security and delivery company, established in 1996. We are headquartered in Seattle and have 76 offices spanning 43 countries. F5 specializes in application security, multi-cloud management, online fraud prevention, application delivery networking (ADN), application availability & performance, network security, and access and authorization. In India, F5 has presence in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Hyderabad.
We at F5 are on a mission to deliver the most secure, fast, and reliable applications to anyone, anywhere, and anytime. Our key customers include the world’s largest enterprises, financial institutions, service providers, and governments, and they rely on our best-of-breed solutions to bring extraordinary digital experiences to life.
With the pandemic still lurking there, what are the major market trends you are forecasting for 2022?
The increasing digital connectivity has led to DDoS attacks rising in frequency, sophistication, and capacity damaging brand reputation and revenue loss. With a noticeable 55% rise in attacks between 2020 to 2021, DDoS attacks are evolving to become more complex, with 54% of incidents using multiple attack vectors. Below is a rundown of the most prominent trends in 2022 as DDoS attacks render business applications and gain access to critical data.
- Organizations increasingly seek protection against identity theft, DDoS, and ransomware: With hybrid work becoming the new default, critical corporate infrastructure and networks demand increasing protection from the rising cyberattacks. Employees using unsecured remote work endpoints, bypassing VPN usage, and misconfigurations in the cloud applications are proving to be an emerging threat that traditional methods like passwords and IP-based controls are no longer sufficient to mitigate. Security models embedded with AI that constantly monitor and detect identities of humans and machine users help protect the organization’s data from unauthorized use. Deploying a Zero Trust approach coupled with web application firewalls and bot detection solutions with robust identity-based access control can help organizations block ransomware and DDoS attacks and secure multiple endpoints round the clock.
- The rising need for mobile app security and bot prevention: 86% of the data breaches occurring at the app level have put the spotlight on better protection of apps and the prevention of unwanted automatic web access in 2022. The increase in attacks on the application layer impacts the functionality and availability of the web application. The attacks are disguised as legitimate user traffic, so identifying DDoS attacks is far more complex than other attacks. Based on client-side and server-side factors, organizations must create baselines to monitor, identify and provide regular insights into the behavior of applications, alerting the security team to any potential malicious traffic.
The rise in online operations and huge business migrations to the cloud during the pandemic has created humongous security issues, how are you bracing to address the security challenges faced by businesses?
To stay competitive and ensure business continuity, organizations’ cloud and digital transformation journeys have accelerated over the last few years. With the operational agility and scalability that come from moving to the cloud, businesses are increasingly becoming targets of cyberattacks and sophisticated fraudulent threats. They are encountering massive challenges to protect their customer’s data from malware, SQL Injection, DDoS attacks, cross-site scripting, and botnet attacks.
With F5’s best-of-breed applications services, we help businesses securely migrate to multi-cloud environments. Our recently launched F5 Distributed Cloud WAAP (Web Application and API Protection) addresses all the security concerns of an app-centric world through end-to-end observability and manages the complex challenges of modern application security. By providing organizations valuable insights and telemetry across their distributed app infrastructure from a centralized interface, F5 protects businesses from data breaches and empowers them to deliver extraordinary, secure, and seamless digital experiences for their employees and end customers as they rapidly migrate to the cloud.
What major trends are you forecasting in the channel market?
As more businesses adopt the cloud, we see the demand for security services growing further, bringing new opportunities for the channel partner ecosystem by helping customers modernize their applications. In fact, we saw double-digit growth in channel sales as solution-based selling thrived in 2021.
We can further expect the acceptance of multi-cloud, distributed applications, and infrastructure as a code to come into mainstream conversations. The demand for solutions to deliver app services such as traffic optimization and security across multi-cloud environments will continue to surge over the next few years.
Which areas are you focusing on in the channel – skillsets, sales and marketing, vertical and technology practice development, service capability, etc.?
Today, most enterprises co-exist with legacy and modern apps, dramatically changing the way applications are developed, stored, and delivered. F5’s commitment to deliver & secure applications—legacy and modern—anywhere, anytime, and on any device makes its role crucial in enabling security, availability, and performance. F5 is a channel-driven organization, and we are adapted to bringing our channel partners up to speed on the application & API security, availability & performance capabilities. We regularly conduct deep-dive sessions, workshops, webinars and share self-paced learnings resources through our partner portal to upskill our channel partner’s technology, practice, sales, and marketing teams. It enables them with knowledge and information to architect F5 solutions around customer requirements for optimum results.
What percentage of budget growth are you expecting for channel development?
It is hard to comment on a specific percentage, but our budget around channel development is in line with our growth and what it takes to have an empowered channel ecosystem. Our channel partners are working closely with F5’s seasoned channels and partner marketing teams to develop newer GTM strategies for business growth and customer satisfaction, and we are also working with our distributors that in turn are doubling down on the efforts of F5 by enabling their own field forces.
Cybersecurity is highly tech intensive. How do you educate your partners to deliver in this highly challenging and competitive security landscape?
Through our Partner Central platform, F5 provides partners with premium tools, practical experience and knowledge around its solutions to help them confidently navigate uses cases and grow their business. To build robust learning and development programs for our partners, F5 delivers live, virtual, and onsite technical training on product announcements, promotions, for its channel ecosystem. F5’s DevCentral, one of the most acclaimed global online communities of coders, is built to help technical peers exchange ideas, solve difficulties, and learn together.
Are you planning any new product additions for the channel market?
F5 is a channel-driven organization, which provides its partners with the opportunity to avail all its products, including new launches. Our newly launched F5 Distributed Cloud WAAP offering delivered as a SaaS service has provided a new avenue for our partners to scale and expand business opportunities.
What’s your geospread? Is there any channel expansion plan in terms of numbers in 2022?
With F5’s large development center in Hyderabad and its offices in Bengaluru, Mumbai & Delhi focused on sales and technical functions, F5’s channel ecosystem is spread across the country. Apart from channel partners focused on security and DevOps, we have channel partners who are large system integrators. In addition, we have a robust channel partner ecosystem that focuses on digital-native organizations. Our channel expansion plans include engagement with OEMs, supported by our strong partnership with cloud service providers like Microsoft, AWS, GCP, and Redhat, contributing to our growth in 2022.