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Where’s the Magic in Gartner’s Quadrant?

Large technology vendors are included in Gartner's "Magic Quadrants" as a matter of course, says invinsec's Rick Wilkinson. Are smaller vendors getting neglected as a result?

By CBR Staff Writer

Every year Gartner publishes its Magic Quadrants covering numerous markets within the technology sector. Some 12 weeks ago, for example, Gartner released the Magic Quadrant for Managed Security Services, Worldwide; an area that we, as cyber security service providers, are particularly interested in.

Managed security services covers a broad range of service providers, consultants and vendors. It is Gartner’s role, in the sector, to assess and review vendors, to help businesses pick the best options for their needs.

In this most recent Magic Quadrant, some of the companies mentioned as leaders in the security space include IBM, Secureworks and Verizon. NTT, BT and AT&T are cited as challengers, with BAE Systems, Fujitsu, Capgemini and others in the niche players grid also in the quadrant.

All big players, with global clients.

It’s rare to see a Magic Quadrant featuring innovative small and medium enterprises or technology start-ups, except for those with deep pockets and big money investors (usually the aforementioned enterprises) behind them.

And yet, each Magic Quadrant is seen as validation by the vendors featured that they’re best placed to meet the needs of clients (big and small) around the world. In our view, the methodology overlooks dozens of worthy companies that don’t have the resources needed to get on the radar of Gartner.

Are SMEs and agile startups getting locked out?

Gartner Methodology: Do You Really Need an Enterprise Solution?

Most small and medium businesses don’t go to IBM and Capgemini for managed security services. Why?

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The same reason the majority of SME and start-up managed security services don’t end up in the Gartner analysis. Resources and budgets. Small and medium enterprises need affordable managed security technology and consultancy services that protect their systems, customer data, sensitive information, and IT integrity. What they don’t need is to be billed £££s per hour for services that only fit the large enterprise market.

As Gartner states in an article about the Magic Quadrant, these provide “snapshots of markets and their participants.” To be included in this snapshot, Gartner assesses “market share, number of clients, installed base, types of products/services, target market or other defining characteristics.”

Vendor size therefore plays a role. Judging by the relative size – number of staff, turnover, number of clients, etc. – large technology vendors are included as a matter of course. Smaller vendors, those who are more agile and can meet clients’ needs more easily, aren’t included. It is well known across the technology sector that the big players, those who are often in Magic Quadrants, have resources and teams to dedicate to this initiative.

Failure to gain a place in a Quadrant would represent an embarrassing and costly missed strategic opportunity.

Has the Market Evolved Beyond Gartner?

Gartner still plays a valuable role for enterprise clients. But for smaller businesses knowing who’s in a Magic Quadrant doesn’t have much of an impact on selecting managed security service providers, or any other IT partners. Most of those in this Quadrant are technology vendors, albeit ones with high-priced consultancy service options.

When working with a managed security service, clients need to know they’re using the most suitable vendor for their needs. This means putting the needs of the client first, which rarely involves seeing who’s featured in a Magic Quadrant.

Cyber attacks are constantly evolving. Businesses have to ask themselves how relevant months of analysis are, weighing up various enterprise-level vendors, when cyber attacks find new ways to break through defences every day. It is worth asking whether bloated organisations are at odds with the environment that they seek to serve? How quickly, for example, can large businesses be expected to make a critical change to adapt to a specific client request?

Gartner’s research and market analysis is valuable and relevant to all businesses. However when it comes to the Magic Quadrant, we suggest that you don’t get too hung up on enterprise vendors unless you count as an enterprise business yourself.

Smaller service partners, such as invinsec, are often more agile and quicker to respond than enterprise vendors, especially when it comes to providing services for SMEs.





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