Dell is making another IT services acquisition -- this time gobbling up SecureWorks, which promotes managed security security services and works with MSPs. Sorry to state the obvious question: But I wonder whether SecureWorks' channel partner program -- particularly work with MSPs -- will potentially evolve under Dell's ownership? I raise the question because Dell hasn't made much noise with MSPs over the past year or so.

Let's start with the nuts and bolts of the deal. SecureWorks claims to have more than 2,900 customers worldwide -- including more than 15 percent of the Fortune 500. The company specializes in managed security and risk consulting. So this isn't a pure cloud deal... it involves plenty of security-minded professionals delivering consulting services. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Dell describes the SecureWorks deal in this video:

[youtube]http://en.community.dell.com/dell-blogs/dell-shares/b/dell-shares/archive/2011/01/04/dell-announces-intent-to-acquire-secureworks.aspx[/youtube]

SecureWorks fits into Dell's larger managed services and SaaS strategies -- which includes recent buyouts like Boomi and Compellent and deals from yesteryear including Silverback Technologies and Everdream.

Winning VARs, Losing MSPs?

To Dell's credit, the company seems to be gaining momentum with VARs. But most of that momentum seems to involve servers, storage, desktop and mobile devices. In the managed services market, I rarely hear from MSPs who leverage Dell Managed Services (the successor to Dell Silverback). Plus, rivals like Nimsoft spent some time launching competitive programs to win business from former Dell MSPs. It's as if Dell's managed services partner strategy has quietly faded away over the past two years, even as Dell continued to show strong gains with the overall Dell PartnerDirect channel program.

Still, during a channel briefing last month Dell told me to keep a close eye on Boomi, which offers cloud integration and management capabilities.

Given Dell's mixed record with MSPs, I'm curious to see how SecureWorks' partner program evolves under Dell's ownership. Dig deep and you'll see that SecureWorks' partner program involves a specific track for MSPs. We'll be watching to see how that effort shapes up under Dell's leadership.

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