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Ping Identity Expands Channel Program Reach, Anticipates Growing Sales For Partners

Vendor says it needs deeper relationships with its channel partners as identity management becomes a bigger piece of customers' security IT spending.

Identity management software developer Ping Identity is taking its partner efforts to the next level, creating programs for channel, managed service provider and alliance partners and expanding the range of provided services and resources.

News of Ping's enhanced partner program comes as identity management is becoming an increasingly important component of many companies' security strategy. As IT systems expand out to Infrastructure-as-a-Service IT, cloud software and mobile devices, firewalls and other traditional perimeter security aren't enough to protect all corporate IT assets and identity management is playing a growing role in plugging those gaps.

The research firm MarketsandMarkets forecasts that sales of identity access management solutions will reach $18.3 billion by 2019.

[Related: 25 Security Innovations Unveiled At RSA 2015]

Denver-based Ping provides a line of identity management products, including the PingOne cloud-based single sign-on service, PingID mobile authentication software and PingAccess tools for managing access to Web applications and programming interfaces.

"We're seeing a shift in focus to identity management from endpoint security," said Ping CEO Andre Durand in an interview. He pointed to a Ping customer, a major bank that he declined to identify, that is now spending 60 percent of its IT security budget on identity management.

Durand's observation is seconded by Bryan Wiese, vice president of identity access management at solution providers Accuvant and Fishnet Security, which are in the process of merging to form Optiv Security. Wiese, in an interview with CRN, said identity management is one of three key areas the new solution provider is focusing on, noting that identity management revenue growth reached 50 percent in 2014 over 2013.

"We expect this year it's not going to slow down at all," Wiese said. Both Accuvant and Fishnet Security are Ping partners and Optiv Security will be a major Ping channel partner once the merger is completed.

Ping has operated its PingPartner Network program for several years and has more than 100 partners that account for between 20 percent and 25 percent of the company's North American sales and a larger percentage in Europe. This week's announcement stems from the need to support a more diverse range of partners and provide them with more resources to capitalize on new opportunities as demand for identity management solutions grows, according to the company.

Under the PingPartner Network umbrella, the vendor is creating three programs for channel/reseller partners, managed service provider (MSP) partners and alliance partners -- the latter made up of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) partners such as ServiceNow, Box, Concur and Netskope; and technology partners such as UnboundID, RadiantLogic and Amazon Web Services.

As solution providers grow their identity access management business, they require a deeper relationship with Ping, CEO Durand said. "For us it means becoming very deliberate in making more resources available to the channel."

The upgraded channel program will provide a range of support services and benefits for partners, including in-person and Web-based training for pre-sales consultants and other partner employees, co-marketing resources, certifications and what the company describes as competitive margins. The program will be composed of Platinum, Gold and Referral tiers offering different levels of support and benefits.

Durand added that while Ping is always recruiting new partners, the vendor's focus with the expanded channel program is on deepening its relationships with its existing channel partners, whom he described as highly qualified.

Both Accuvant and Fishnet Security are Ping resellers, building solutions around those solutions and offering services such as pre-sales consulting, deployment and support, Wiese said. So Optiv expects to have a similarly strategic relationship with Ping going forward.

And Optiv will be relying on the enhanced PingPartner Network program to ensure that its field sales force is fully enabled and its services people are fully trained, Wiese said. He noted that the program also offers marketing support, including co-sponsorship of Optiv events, marketing content distribution, margin protection and more.

"They've really checked all the boxes we're looking for," Wiese said.


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