Dell’s Expands its Infrastructure Solutions and Services Portfolio with New Security Solutions for Midsize Companies

Over the past couple of years, Dell has been building a very significant set of IT solutions and services portfolio geared to providing small (which Dell defines as companies with 1 to 100 employees) and midsize companies (defined by Dell as businesses with 100 to 500 employees) , but more appropriately, “S” as companies without dedicated IT staff and “MB” as companies with dedicated IT generalists, with the capabilities they need to more effectively and productively manage their growing IT infrastructure investments. Dell’s focus on this area is underscored by its recently announced (July 28, 2010) midsize security initiatives and partnerships with Juniper Networks and SecureWorks.

Security continues to be one of the top technology challenges faced by SMB and midsize businesses. In the SMB Group’s “2010 SMB Routes To Market” study, medium business survey respondents indicated that “implementing new solutions and upgrades needed to keep IT systems up and running” is one their top 5 technology challenges. In addition, although spending on infrastructure services and solutions have lagged behind other areas during the economic slowdown of the past two years, a sizable percentage of midsize companies across different employee size bands plan to purchase infrastructure solutions and services in the next 12 months, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Technology Solutions Purchase Plans for Medium Businesses

Often lacking the internal expertise and resources required to address internal and external infrastructure management requirements, SMBs and midsize companies are turning to third-parties for help. In particular, the changing and volatile nature of security threats–along with the potentially high damage fallout should a breach occur–is a serious challenge and threat for these companies, who are unlikely to have the capabilities to provide proactive, 24/7 monitoring and problem resolution.
Dell’s security strategy is to provide end-to-end solutions and services, integrating best-of-breed security products and service from both Dell and its partners. While many point solutions are available in the market today, Dell’s more comprehensive and helps customers identify threats, monitor and manage security risks, and comply with industry or government regulations. This approach can give businesses peace of mind, and allow them to focus on their core business, instead of worrying about IT vulnerabilites.

The Dell Security Solution portfolio includes:

  • Network Security Appliance. The J-SRX Gateway is a Dell-branded network security appliance that Dell co-developed with Juniper. The J-SRX integrates firewall, VPN, Intrusion prevention, anti-spam, anti-virus and web filtering technologies to secure the network with one system, which can replace legacy Firewall/VPN/IPS devices and outdated software. Dell had been offering the J-SRX appliance to larger customers since October of 2009, but is now extending them to bring network-level security to medium businesses. The base J-SRX Services Gateway starts at $645.
  • Endpoint Client Security Solutions. Dell acquired KACE, which provides management and deployment appliances, in February of this year. The Dell KACE K1000 management appliance helps secure endpoint devices through services such as patching, and helps IT managers to plan, execute and report on security compliance efforts in a mixed environment of Windows and Mac devices. The K1000 includes the recently announced Dell KACE Secure Browser (see my colleague Laurie McCabe’s recent post), which uses application virtualization to isolate activities in the Firefox browser to reduce Internet security risks.
  • Security Services. Dell has partnered with SecureWorks to provide a portfolio of security services. Functioning as an extension of a midsize company’s internal IT staff, SecureWorks provides daily security monitoring and management services to services to identify, prevent and remediate threats. These services can help businesses better assess their current level of security, meet regulatory compliance requirements, and reduce IT costs. The services will be available by the end of the year.


Implications for SMBs and Midsize Enterprises.

Dell is already a market leader in medium business for IT Infrastructure solutions, including servers, desktops and storage, according to IDC and Gartner. Furthermore, Dell has been providing Dell Managed Services — one of the industry’s most comprehensive managed IT services offerings to support heterogeneous IT environments for these customers–since 2009.

By augmenting Dell Managed Services first with the KACE acquisition, and now with these new security solutions and services in conjunction with Juniper and SecureWorks, Dell continues to expand its infrastructure portfolio for SMBs and midsize companies–underscoring its commitment to this space over the long haul.

Dell’s approach gives SMBs and midsize companies that want infrastructure solutions and services a one-stop shop for both on-premise and remote managed services, which should appeal to those companies that want a more streamlined solution approach, are looking to consolidate vendors and contracts, and want one throat to choke. However, Dell needs to present this larger vision and story to the SMB and midsize companies and educate them on the benefits of this approach; otherwise they will have a difficult time displacing the current managed security service vendors in these accounts.

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