Bell Canada’s new security division wants to expand and add to the relations it has with resellers across the county at the same time as it promises to compete with them as the leading security provider.

“We’ll use VARS and resellers and channel partners to help us expand our reach in the

marketplace, to ‘pull’ more professional services and intellectual property from us and to give us more insight into the buying behaviour of customers,” said Charles Salameh, president of Bell Security Solutions.

“When we look to partners we look to those who have strong relationships with customers, access to new markets we may not have access to and have the ability to understand the linkage between what they’re reselling and some of the other services we have.”

Bell already has network partnerships with some system integrators, he noted, offering wide-area networking services they don’t have. His division will try to build on that.

“I would ask them ‘What do you have in your area of helping us close the gap in terms of some of the security requirements we have for some of our customers. Is it better for me to use theirs as opposed to building it ourselves?’”

“Pure-play security players are also an attractive new market that we’re going to go after from a channel and resale point of view.”

“We’re actively discussing with multiple partners . . . to refine that channel strategy,” he said. “There’s a whole bunch of them that are innovative small and midsized companies that can fill little pockets of requirements for us.”

In announcing the new division, Salameh spared no language in describing its goals.

“Bell and its partners will be the first company in Canada to offer a fully integrated, end-to-end and coast-to-coast perspective of networking and security into a single unit for Canadian businesses,” he told a Tuesday press conference.

Headquartered in Ottawa with offices in several cities across the country, the unit will concentrate on selling security solutions for IP and wireless networks for companies of all sizes.

“I’ve been given a mandate to establish Bell as the premier network and security provider coast-to-cost. We will assist companies in developing innovative solutions to handle the escalation of threats, vulnerabilities and legal obligations.”

Already the unit has collected 237 staffers from other Bell divisions engaged in security-related work, a number that could grow to 400 by the end of the year, he said.

In addition, Bell is hunting for strategic acquisitions.

Vendor partners include Cisco Systems, Trend Micro and Entrust, as well as system integrator CGI Group, which Bell owns a piece of.

“We will deliver a comprehensive suite of offerings that provide the optimal mix for customers and allow them to choice of the level of security they want in their environment.”

The division will sell almost anything imaginable related to security – professional services, consulting, assessments, outsourcing, remote network management and security cameras in addition to the usual hardware and software.

To attract business from small and mid-sized companies the division will offer packaged solutions, such as Internet service combined with intrusion detection.

While business from companies of any size will be welcome, Salameh said it will focus on government, retail, financial and manufacturing sectors.

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