AlterPoint Launches Partner Program

"Any sizable network has hundreds, if not truly thousands and thousands, of network devices--firewalls, routers, switches, etc.," said Rick Pleczko, vice president of marketing at AlterPoint, Austin, Texas. "And each has software configurations that define how it routes traffic and administration rights."

DeviceAuthority helps customers manage changes to those configurations so their networks stay up and remain secure, Pleczko said.

The two-year-old company has been selling through its eight-member direct-sales force but is now ready to open distribution to a channel of VARs and systems integrators, Pleczko said. The company's direct-sales force will be compensated equally for sales that go direct and those that go through partners, he said.

Through its channel program, AlterPoint is offering lead sharing and free training and support to its partners.

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The program also includes tiered partner levels--Alliance, Preferred and Premier--that provide increasing margins as partners move up the ranks. The levels are based on sales volume of AlterPoint products, Pleczko said.

The company declined to disclose the margins it is offering to partners.

DeviceAuthority represents a huge opportunity for network management solution providers targeting midsize customers, said Roland Neaves, vice president of product sales at Computer Solutions, a San Antonio-based solution provider. "If you're in this industry and looking for a product with very little competition that complements mainstream technology, which has become commoditized, this is a good place to look," Neaves said.

The technology fills a niche that other vendors have ignored, said Scott Shelly, managing partner at Trinity Networks, a St. Louis-based solution provider. "We were looking for a tool like this for a long time," Shelly said. "[Customers] have done a lot of homegrown processes and procedures internally, but most people don't have a system in place to do what AlterPoint is providing."

Solution providers said the technology can improve the reliability of their customers' networks, as the majority of network problems can be traced back to configuration issues, not device failures.

"A lot of problems in the network are caused by configuration management errors, configuration changes not properly implemented," Shelly said. "This allows [us] to see what network changes have taken place and [whether they] caused a problem."