WatchGuard Technologies is bolstering its deal registration program, streamlining the process and adding a 20 percent discount to help fuel sales of its XTM 525 series Unified Threat Management appliances.
The Seattle-based firm's new channel chief, Alex Thurber, a longtime channel veteran, said he wants to help partners see through deals without being worried about being stepped on by competitors. To get more partners using the deal registration program, Thurber announced an increase in margins from 5 to 20 points.
"Our partners are investing time and we recognize that there are a lot of costs on the line," Thurber told CRN. "We're investing more into the partners that have invested most in us with this program enhancement."
Thurber said he also is working on simplifying the deal registration process. Partners still need to provide proof that an official net new deal is in place. But subtle adjustments make it easier to register net new deals, he said. WatchGuard also has made adjustments in Salesforce.com to provide partners with increased visibility into registered opportunities so the inside team and the sales team can work closely together, Thurber said.
The additional margins have been approved through the end of the year. The firm also is readying additional promotions around its wireless technology. Thurber said wireless security has a huge potential for growth, and channel partners can benefit because the WatchGuard technology is managed by the same management console that leverages the XTM appliance line.
Businesses are increasingly in tune with the threat landscape as cybersecurity incidents get more attention in the news, said Richard Galganov, CIO at Dallas-based HBR Technologies, a WatchGuard partner. Galganov said he is seeing traction with WatchGuard's wireless access points, because they are easy to deploy, integrate easily and solve an important problem.
"Businesses see a proliferation of handheld devices walking around, and they recognize that they need to tighten down their environments now," Galganov said.
WatchGuard competes in a crowded UTM space with Barracuda Networks, Check Point, Cisco Systems, Cyberoam Technologies, Dell-SonicWall, Fortinet, Juniper Networks and Sophos. UTM appliances typically provide firewall, antivirus, content and email filtering, intrusion prevention and application control. According to analysis by Frost & Sullivan, Fortinet, Check Point and Dell-SonicWall hold a nearly 49 percent market share.
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Small businesses want a UTM appliance that is easy to use and maintain, said Alejandro Rosado, CEO of 12:34 MicroTechnologies, a Lancaster, Pa.-based WatchGuard partner. Rosado said he has evaluated appliances from Barracuda and looked at the Sophos UTM appliance (formerly Astaro) and hasn't yet found a good reason to move away from WatchGuard.
"We've found WatchGuard very easy to configure and sell, and the margins have been great," Rosado said "What's been nice for our techs is its unified interface, regardless of which device we're installing."
WatchGuard offers about 11 appliance models. It recently released a UTM appliance that works on the Microsoft Windows Azure cloud platform. The company introduced data loss prevention capabilities into its UTM appliances earlier this year and also is partnering with NCP Engineering to simplify remote IPSec VPN access for businesses.
Thurber was named WatchGuard's vice president of sales for the Americas and EMEA regions in June. He said he anticipates additional program adjustments and enhancements to the company's channel program into next year. Thurber has a long history in the channel, having worked at Tripwire and McAfee, following a 10-year stint at Cisco Systems, where he developed and led go-to-market channel strategies.
He told CRN in a recent interview that the firm has been focused on lead processing and lead generation to get leads to partners as quickly as possible.
"Channel is part of the DNA of the company, and will remain that way," he said, adding that quarterly business reviews will help determine what WatchGuard can do to support its partners. "The firm is also reviewing its territories to see where we can grow its partner base," Thurber said.
PUBLISHED SEPT. 4, 2013