Channel Partners Evolve to Enable Hybrid Work and Combat Rising Cyberattacks


As the industry looks toward 2022, it must also acknowledge the recent turbulent past. Through two unprecedented years of a pandemic and record breaking cyberattacks, Channel Partners across the globe have provided network security solutions to small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in a variety of industries. And throughout 2021, they continued to face challenges in the cybersecurity market – in office vs remote work, rising cyberattacks, customers who don’t want to change what’s working, etc.

In Untangle’s annual 2021 Voice of the Channel and 2022 Predictions Report, over 1500 Channel Partners were surveyed about challenges they faced over the last year, customer threats, current service portfolios, and the trends that will shape strategic business decisions for their organizations moving forward. What was learned is, despite the turbulence, Channel Partners have evolved and risen to the challenges and are preparing for the future.

Challenge – the Changing Work Landscape

In 2020 at the start of the pandemic, companies were quick to react and sent employees home to work. Fast forward to 2022 and businesses are going back to the office, many have already returned, and many have set March and Spring 2022 to bring back an in-office policy. Throughout all of these changes, channel partners have adapted to accommodate not only in-office clients, but also remote working as well as hybrid scenarios that have employees rotating in and out of the office.

How Channel Partners Have Adapted

To deal with the workplace transformation, Channel Partners have adapted to both remote working and hybrid scenarios. Moving into 2022, 49% of our partners said that 50% or more of their clients would continue to work remotely. To accommodate the dispersed workforce, partners found the most requested security feature from clients in 2021 was endpoint security (49% of MSPs), and then VPN Connectivity (25.8% of MSPs). These features being at the top of the list supports the trend that clients are looking to both enable and secure remote and hybrid work and stay ahead of cyber threats. Channel Partners have taken on the challenge with 85% offering endpoint security and 89% offering general network security including VPN technology.

Challenge – Increasing Cyberattacks

Headlining the news in 2021 was a string of high-profile cyberattacks, including the infrastructure attacks on the Colonial Pipeline and JBS Foods. What didn’t make the news cycle were record breaking cyberattacks on SMBs with Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report, (DBIR), indicating that 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses. According to the Voice of the Channel report, in 2021, the most common types of attacks that partners saw in 2021 were:

  • Phishing (68% of partners)
  • Malware / Virus (51% of partners)
  • Ransomware (33% of partners)


How Channel Partners Have Adapted

With this rise in cyberattacks, 70% of channel partners saw increased requests following a major cyberattack with almost 50% saying they received requests for all of these services: network security, endpoint security, employee cybersecurity education and VPN. Following the jump in requests, for 2022, 83% Channel Partners expect that the cybersecurity side of their business will increase.

Trends for 2022

The growing number of cyberattacks and security risks also have Partners investigating newer security approaches. As Partners look to overcome the challenges presented by the rise in cyberattacks and in supporting globally dispersed networks and end users, they are looking at adding new solutions into their portfolios to meet these needs. For 2022, the new offerings that partners are making a priority to add are Zero Trust (33%) and web application firewall (31%). Notably, Zero Trust didn’t even make the list of features to consider in 2021, showing how fast the cybersecurity landscape is changing.

While the past two years may have been challenging, Channel Partners have risen to the occasion by adapting to the evolving needs of their clients in the wake of cyberattacks and a shifting workforce to better help protect their clients’ business, critical data and remote workers.

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