In a wide-ranging discussion with TBR, Dell Technologies’ Adam Miller, a marketing leader focused on cybersecurity, explained his company’s strategy in the security services space, including how Dell Technologies expects to stand out over the coming few years. The following analysis reflects both that discussion and TBR’s ongoing coverage of Dell Technologies.
20 years of experience and 1,000-plus customers
Dell Technologies (NYSE: DELL) is well known for its secure devices and infrastructure but is quickly catching up to peers in terms of name recognition around security services (see below for a description of the company’s security services portfolio). While brand can be improved through marketing, acquisitions, and sustained and successful partnerships that deliver security services value to clients as part of a multiparty engagement, Miller believes Dell Technologies will get a substantial boost based on its expanding Services portfolio and impactful Zero Trust security partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).
As part of the initiative, named Project Fort Zero, Dell Technologies, in concert with 30-plus other technology partners, will deliver an “advanced maturity Zero Trust solution” — validated by the DOD — within the next 12 months. U.S. defense and intelligence agencies have long been viewed as leading edge organizations with respect to cybersecurity, and vendors have often sought to use credentials related to providing security solutions to the U.S. federal government as a testament to their expertise and reliability. Dell Technologies should see a substantial increase in its brand value around security services as the company expands the Project Fort Zero initiative across the wider U.S. federal government and enterprise organizations.
In addition to providing clients with some sense of authority and dependability, Dell Technologies should also benefit from leading a loose consortium of security-related technology solution providers. The cybersecurity space is far too vast for any single player to truly be “end to end,” so partnering well across the ecosystem frequently separates leaders from middle performers and laggards. Dell Technologies should be able to leverage Project Fort Zero to solidify its partnering capabilities and demonstrate leadership.
Proven and low-cost strategy: Going to market as part of larger Dell Technologies
Similar to peers’ offerings, Dell Security Services are offered as an add-on to technology and services engagements, almost always with existing clients. Miller did not anticipate any change in that approach, and TBR believes executing well on a proven and low-cost strategy trumps aggressive sales campaigns and marketing blitzes.
TBR recognizes that the add-on approach could limit Dell Technologies’ security services’ growth, but the company can lean into its trusted technology provider reputation and strong client relationships to ensure security services, at a minimum, keep pace with the larger company and are positioned to accelerate when market conditions permit.
As noted above, should Project Fort Zero significantly boost Dell Technologies’ security brand, the company may be able to use security services as a leading offering in its go-to-market strategies.
Dell Technologies streamlined its security portfolio following several divestments in recent years
Since the close of the massive $65 billion acquisition of EMC in 2016, Dell Technologies has been a seller in the M&A market, slowly refining its portfolio while also paying down debt. This has involved divesting parts of its security portfolio such as SonicWall and RSA. However, Dell Technologies very much remains a player in the cybersecurity arena, with recent divestments enabling it to narrow its focus on its overall security strategy. Several of the company’s security offerings are now tucked under the APEX umbrella, such as APEX Backup, APEX Cyber Recovery and APEX Data Storage.
Additionally, Dell Technologies has developed its security services strategy to focus on three fundamental areas that help customers reduce their attack surface, protect their assets and data, manage security proactively, and help build cybersecurity maturity. These families of offerings and services fit well with the company’s portfolio and overall strategy, aligning with its existing hardware products, and creating opportunities for attached sales to larger IT infrastructure engagements.
Steady, smart and sane, with a boost coming from Project Fort Zero
Miller made clear to TBR that Managed Detection and Response remains a target area for Dell Technologies’ investments, while noting his company understands that many peers in the security services space view Managed Detection and Response as a core offering. That understanding marks exceptional self-awareness on Dell Technologies’ part about where the company fits within the broader cybersecurity ecosystem. Dell Technologies has strengths it can play to and believes the security services market has long-term potential.
In TBR’s view, Dell Technologies has not been trying to differentiate where differentiation is impossible and is not betting the farm on security services growth. Instead, the company is taking an approach that is steady, smart and sane. Add to that strategic approach a potentially highly beneficial solution validation from the U.S. Department of Defense, and Dell Technologies has positioned itself well for steady, and possibly accelerated, security services growth.
TBR’s coverage of Dell Technologies includes individual vendor coverage by the IT Infrastructure, Devices and Professional Services teams, along with various benchmark and market forecast coverage across TBR.