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Cato Networks Launches Global Partner Program, Updated Portal

‘More than anything in the U.S., we are looking to see if the reseller model is the right fit for Cato because we've seen so much success in the master [agent] world,’ Nick Fan, Cato's vice president of sales, Americas, tells CRN.

Cloud networking specialist Cato Networks has launched a global program for partners of all kinds, including master agents, subagents, VARs, and MSPs.

Tel Aviv, Israel-based Cato Networks, which does nearly all of its business through partners, grew its channel business by nearly 500 percent year-over-year from 2018 to 2019. In 2017, Cato started putting more of a focus on master agents and telecom agent partners in the U.S. Outside of the U.S., the company does more business through distributors and VARs. Now, the startup wants to reach out to more reseller partners all over the globe, said Nick Fan, Cato's vice president of sales, Americas.

"We're seeing more and more interest here in the U.S. from the reseller ecosystem," Fan said. "Our peers in EMEA and APAC are only selling this way, so let's not ignore the potential of the reseller here as well."

[Related: Cato Networks Just Made SD-WAN Management Simpler]

The new Cato Partner Program consists of two partner tiers for solution providers selling SD-WAN as an MPLS replacement, secure branch Internet access, or optimized global connectivity -- Premium and Professional partner. Premium partners who are putting Cato Services on their paper will enjoy a new discount layer, Fan said.

Criteria for becoming a Premium partner include pipeline engagement and joint selling activities between Cato and the partner, he added.

Both tiers include access to training and certifications on-demand. For qualified partners, Cato offers free demo licenses, free equipment, and marketing development funds (MDF) to support their partners’ lead-generation efforts, the company said.

"More than anything in the U.S., we are looking to see if the reseller model is the right fit for Cato because we've seen so much success in the master [agent] world," Fan said. "We want to make sure we're not missing out on opportunities that we're not seeing on the master agent side."

The company in July launched a self-service partner portal that includes an education track, deal registration, and support. The portal also includes a "pipeline" feature that lets partners see how many opportunities they've brought in, where they are in the sales stage, and how much revenue the deals will ultimately generate.

The channel team at Cato has also been expanded from one to three channel-dedicated roles, Fan said. Today, the company's channel efforts are being led by Ron Hamlett, Cato's director of channel. Reporting to him are Johnny Vaughan, channel director in the East region who joined the company in September and Mark Peay, director of channel, West region, who joined in May. Vaughan and Peay both came to Cato from Masergy.

Cato Networks in January secured a $55 million investment round after growing its bookings by 352 percent in 2018. That growth, according to the company, was led by its channel partners.

"The majority of our business is still channel-led," Fan said. "Partners are bringing us deals and we are selling with partners on nearly every engagement."

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