Blue Coat Tightening Channel Program


Blue Coat, which was acquired last year by a private equity firm, is in the process of reorganizing its partner program to tighten requirements in order to get a greater commitment from partners.

Partners that are not willing to invest time in education and certification to boost sales will be demoted to a lower classification, Laurie Usewicz, vice president of channels at Blue Coat, said. Blue Coat, which has more than 400 partners, excluding those who work through distributors, has a three-tier system: authorized, premiere and elite. The company also has separate programs for wireless service providers and global system integrators.

"If we have too many (partners) at a level that maybe aren't necessarily pulling their weight and doing everything that they should be doing, it kind of takes away from our commitment to partnerships for those that are absolutely going the extra mile for Blue Coat," Usewicz said.

Under the new program, partners can specialize in Blue Coat's security or its WAN optimization product lines separately. Blue Coat plans to provide more details and implement the new program in May.

In December 2011, private equity firm Thoma Bravo acquired Blue Coat for $1.3 billion. The purchase followed the departure of president and chief executive Mike Borman in August. His departure followed a sizable decline in sales and profit for the company's fiscal first quarter. Borman was replaced with Gregory Clark.

Separately, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Blue Coat introduced Monday reporting software that enables customers to use the same tools to monitor security information from the company's on-premise and cloud-based Web gateways.

"Up until now, if you had reporting on the appliance it could only report on traffic through the appliances," Sasi Murthy, senior director of product marketing, said. "If you had reporting in the cloud, up until now, it could only report on traffic through the cloud."

Customers using Blue Coat's cloud-based gateway will get unified reporting immediately, Murthy said. Appliance customers will have that option in a couple of weeks. "Either way, you get what we call this single pane of glass," she said. "It's a single view across your company. Whether you choose a box or cloud is secondary."

Blue Coat's appliances and cloud service serve different purposes within an organization. The appliance would monitor traffic from laptops and other mobile devices going through a company's VPN. The cloud service is to protect companies whose employees are connecting to corporate networks through the Internet.