An even better experience, Thibodeaux said, would be shadowing various departments within the client's organization for a day to get a first-hand perspective on how the company operates and what their organization is like.
"Some partners are already doing this kind of stuff," Thibodeaux said. "But the majority probably aren't."
In the cybersecurity arena, Thibodeaux said an increasing number of partners have started to make that their sole practice area to address increased demand and awareness among their customer base.
"Some people are just ditching the rest of their business and concentrating solely on cyber[security]," Thibodeaux said.
Developing a cohesive strategy around cybersecurity has become a larger challenge as end users increasingly use several different devices and networks to conduct business, Thibodeaux said. As a result, Thibodeaux said solution providers have to manage more data and platforms with less direct control.
Compliance requirement for businesses have increased, Thibodeaux said, not only in industries regulated by HIPAA and PCI, but also due to actions taken by various state governments.
Solution providers building a pure-play security practice tend to invest heavily in areas like penetration testing, phishing detection testing, infrastructure design and management and cloud security, according to Thibodeaux.
"The portfolio of things you can offer from a pure cyber[security] perspective has probably increased," Thibodeaux said. "It would have been tough a few years ago to build a practice exclusively around cyber."
The first thing solution providers looking to build a pure-play security practice need to do, Thibodeaux said, is realign their staff. Specifically, Thibodeaux said security-focused partners don't need as many break-fix technicians, salespeople or ongoing customer support agents, but need to beef up expertise around compliance, cloud security, mobile security, and app and platform security.
Channel partners can start the realignment process by training their existing technical people in security through certification, university and online programs, Thibodeaux said. From there, solution providers can recruit students coming out of cybersecurity programs at local colleges and universities.