Cybersecurity partner program efforts take flight

Cybersecurity partner programs are ramping up with vendors such as Flashpoint, Centrify and Portnox to expand or launch channel initiatives; more news from the week.

Cybersecurity partner program activity continues to intensify, with Flashpoint, Centrify and Portnox among the latest vendors to update or launch such initiatives.

Flashpoint, a New York company that specializes in business risk intelligence, this week reported its Global Channel Program has expanded 150% year over year since the company rolled out its partner effort in 2017. Ayesha Prakash, senior director of worldwide channels and partnerships at Flashpoint, said the percentage of the company's business through partners grew to 45% in 2018. The company's board has set a goal of 50%-plus channel contribution in 2019, but Prakash said her goal is to eventually generate all of Flashpoint's business through partners.

She called channel partners a "force multiplier" to educate the market: "They get us in front of the right audience."

Ayesha Prakash, senior director, worldwide channels and partnerships at FlashpointAyesha Prakash

Prakash said Flashpoint partners help identify project opportunities, making the company aware of requests for information and requests for proposals that it might otherwise miss. Flashpoint has about 200 customers globally in the government and private sector.

The company plans to launch mini channel programs to address the specific needs of partners within geographic regions such as the Americas, Asia Pacific and EMEA. Those programs will operate within the global program for Flashpoint partners.

They get us in front of the right audience.
Ayesha Prakash Senior director of worldwide channels and partnerships, Flashpoint

Centrify, meanwhile, has debuted a three-tier cybersecurity partner program dubbed the P.E.A.K Performance. The Santa Clara, Calif., company, which focuses on zero-trust privilege, has organized its partner initiative into silver, gold and platinum levels.

The entry-level silver tier offers self-serve support and the lowest level of discounts. The gold tier provides focused support, medium discounts, while the platinum tier offers the highest level of support and discounts. Qualification for tiers is based on the extent to which partners pursue multi-competency requirements, according to the company.

John Andrews, vice president of worldwide channels at Centrify, said the company's previous partner program also had a tiered structure. The new program has rebuilt the tiers to reflect Centrify's repositioning in zero-trust privilege. Centrify has augmented the familiarity of the tiered structure with additional program features such as new accreditation programs, marketing campaign packages and portal functionality.

Centrify has selected distributor Tech Data to support its new channel program.

"Our aim here is to onboard all new partners via Tech Data and then make a gradual transition for all others who have had direct relationships with Centrify in the past," Andrews noted.

Centrify transacts the majority of its business through the channel. The new program is geared toward a range of partner groups, including traditional value-added resellers, direct marketing resellers, managed service providers (MSPs), managed security service providers (MSSPs) and distributors.

Andrews said Centrify also has a substantial presence in channels targeting the federal market and the state, local and education (SLED) market. The company also works with global systems integrators and has a stand-alone referral program "for a select and niche group of individual influencers working with Centrify," he added.

Also in the cybersecurity partner program arena, Portnox, a network access control (NAC) vendor based in New York, recently unveiled a global program for MSPs and MSSPs. The company said its Portnox Sphere MSP/MSSP Program lets partners provide NAC as a service, without the need for hardware or software investments.

Program features include an MSP pricing model based on the total devices under management and an additional MSP partnership level discount. The Portnox channel effort also offers the ability to customize security integrations, providing security stacks tailored to customer and partner requirements.

The new and updated programs continue a trend in recent years where cybersecurity vendors have enlisted channel partners to expand their sales and services reach.

VMware to relaunch partner program in 2020

VMware has revealed a redesigned partner program, slated to go live in early 2020. The program aims to engage channel partners in simpler and more flexible ways, VMware said.

The new Partner Connect program will feature three tiers -- Partner, Advanced Partner and Principal Partner -- with incremental benefits. Tier levels will be based on earning VMware Solution Competencies and sales and/or consumption targets. Principal Partner status, which will require Master Services Competencies, will have access to deployment and consumption incentives, as well as joint business planning and co-selling with VMware, the company said.

VMware said it will provide support, resources and education to help partners prepare for the new Partner Connect program.

VMware this week also expanded its Master Services Competencies. Partners can now pursue a competency for offering professional services for VMware Cloud on AWS.

Additionally, VMware said partners can tap a new incentive for hyper-converged infrastructure sales. The vendor said new VMware vSAN customers can purchase three nodes of vSAN licenses for the price of two. The HCI Partner Sales Incentive will be available for a limited time, VMware added.

TBI points partners to mobility opportunities

Distributor Telecom Brokerage Inc. (TBI) said it is looking to help partners to shore up their mobility practices this year.

The company said the pivot to 5G opportunities will be a major theme at its upcoming partner conference, the BIG Event, held in Chicago on May 9. In addition to 5G, TBI will also highlight other growth areas, such as call center as a service and mobile device management (MDM) offerings, at the conference.

"I think it is not unreasonable to say that in the future an end user, like a network manager, is going to have a wireless network to manage that is just as important as their MPLS network -- maybe more important if you think of the future of work," said Dave Landsberger, director of training and events at TBI, based in Chicago.

He said the challenge for partners in regard to 5G today is that "the hype machine is in full effect and the product just isn't there yet." But partners should be preparing their businesses for when 5G-enabled networks become prevalent. Additionally, he noted that 5G will open up "a huge marketplace" around repurposing 4G networks for IoT. He said 4G "is really the future of IoT."

Landsberger also said MDMs services are seeing greater traction among SMB and midmarket customers. He said that providers in the past have offered MDM services at a high entry point, generally targeting enterprise customers. "Now I am seeing providers drop that threshold down as they realize smaller businesses are becoming much more mobility focused," he said. "That is actually opening up a lot more SMB and midmarket opportunities for partners to ... have significant conversations with their customers about saving them money on their wireless networks."

M&A update: Access, Calligo do deals

Access, a records and information management services provider, based in Woburn, Mass., has acquired Montaña & Associates, an information governance consulting firm that specializes in retention policy and schedule creation.

Calligo, an MSP and data privacy specialist, based in Jersey, Ont., has acquired Connected Technologies Inc., an outsourced IT and cloud services company in Brampton, Ont. The deal is Calligo's third acquisition in Canada. The company previously purchased 3 Peaks and Mico Systems. The acquisitions make Calligo among the largest MSPs in the Toronto metropolitan area, according to the company.

Other news

  • Faction, a Denver-based MSP focusing on VMware Cloud on AWS, has secured $14 million in financing in an investment round led by Dell Technologies Capital. The funding will be used to extend the reach of the company's hybrid disaster recovery as a service across public clouds, expand its data center footprint and provide deeper integrations with storage portfolio offerings to support multi-cloud storage.
  • Google Cloud Next '19 will run April 9 to 11 in San Francisco. But before that event launches, Google Cloud and premier partner Agosto will co-host NCAA Final Four activities in Minneapolis, where Agosto is based.
  • Oracle NetSuite introduced SuiteLife, a partner engagement initiative, for selling its cloud ERP systems. SuiteLife provides programs, training and tools to jumpstart a NetSuite practice in 90 days, the company said.
  • Excelero, a software-defined block storage vendor, has signed a global reseller agreement with Lenovo Data Center Group. Under the deal, Lenovo partners and customers can purchase Excelero NVMesh software-defined block storage products with sales of Lenovo data center servers, Excelero said.
  • CGS, an outsourcing firm based in New York, is tapping robotic process automation vendor UiPath to automate its global outsourcing services business, including its business process outsourcing contact centers.
  • Upland Software Inc., a maker of cloud-based enterprise work management products, has rolled out a professional services automation The Austin, Texas, company's Upland PSA includes proposal automation, voice of the customer and employee surveys, customer reference management and business intelligence in addition to services automation.
  • A newly released Accenture report identified genomics, biomarkers and companion technologies as a combination expected to serve as the biopharmaceutical sector's "new growth machine."
  • DynTek Inc., a professional technology services provider based in Irvine, Calif., has launched a security operations center in Albany, N.Y. The facility will provide DynTek clients with cybersecurity threat protection, monitoring, management and alerting, according to the company.
  • Sensemetrics Inc., an industrial IoT company, has rolled out its Global Strategic Alliance Member Program.

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