How FishNet Reels In Security Business

FishNet CEO Rich Fennessy
FishNet CEO Rich Fennessy

Daily headlines are crowded with news about the latest, high-profile corporate security breach, and the universe of potential cyber threats expands virtually every moment.

Amid that uncertain climate, Overland Park, Kansas-based FishNet Security has grown its sales at double-digit rates for the past several years: In 2013, revenue topped $600 million, which makes it the largest IT security specialist in North America with more than 5,000 customers served.

Earlier this year, that performance helped it climb 17 spots to No. 46 on the 2014 CRN Solution Provider list. If that pace continues, FishNet very well could top $1 billion in annual revenue within three years, a goal that its relatively new CEO Rich Fennessy aired publicly during one of his first interviews in his role last November after taking over for founder Gary Fish.

Fennessy, the former CEO of Insight Enterprises and IBM veteran, was recruited because of his public company experience. Fish moved into the role of chairman

How will FishNet keep hooking clients? Fennessy believes the answer is simple: The best bait is the depth of the solution provider's technical and training resources focused almost exclusively on all things security. It's clear where he stands on the perennial channel debate about specialization: Should you or shouldn't you? "Customers want depth, they don't need breadth from us. Security is absolutely one of those topics you need to be deep on," Fennessy said.

That's not an inexpensive proposition. At last count, FishNet supported close to 200 vendors on its line card; the top 20 represent the lion's share of its business. Along the way, the integrator has invested in more than 450 product certifications and 250 services badges all focused on security technologies and processes. "We expect our consultants to be knowledgeable and certified," Fennessy said. "It is a big focus and investment."

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