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Versa Networks’ First Global Partner Program Sets Sights On Soaring SASE Sales

The SD-WAN-turned-SASE specialist launched its first-ever formal channel partner program for VARs, MSPs, and service provider partners.

Versa Networks is unveiling its first-ever formal channel partner program to tackle the unprecedented demand the company is seeing for SD-WAN and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solutions.

The SASE specialist unveiled the Versa ACE -- Accelerate, Captivate, Engage -- Partner Program on Tuesday for VARs, MSPs, and service providers. Versa does nearly 100 percent of its business today through the channel and has historically leaned on its relationships with master agents to reach the telecom agent community.

QOS Networks, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider, has been a longtime Versa partner. The vendor, while always channel-friendly, didn’t have a formalized strategy around developing VARs and MSPs, said Michael Brennan, vice president of channel sales at QOS.

“The ACE program will move partners through the natural evolution and development cycle and deepen their relationship with the Versa stack with things like training events and seminars,” he said.

[Related: Versa Networks Introduces SASE, Secure SD-WAN Service For Remote Workers: Exclusive ]

There’s a big learning curve for partners and adoption curve for customers when it comes to SD-WAN. The onus is on partners to understand which solution will best fit their needs, Brennen said. “I think Versa feels the need to make sure VARs, MSPs, and sub agents have a full understanding of SD-WAN and SASE … There’s choices when it comes to platforms and I welcome more information.”

Global demand for SASE and secure SD-WAN hit a fever pitch in 2020 due to the dramatic shift to much more distributed workforces and a customer base that needed “an innovative approach” to connecting and securing the network, assets, and employees, said John Atchison, head of global channel marketing for Versa.

“In 2021, to grow and scale through our partner ecosystem to meet the demands for these SASE and Secure SD-WAN solutions, we needed a formal global channel program through which our new and existing partners can build competencies and expertise in Versa solutions,” he said. “The new program will create a more synergistic environment that will contribute to new opportunities, pipeline, [and] growth for Versa and our partners.”

Gartner has been publishing its Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure report for the last three years. Versa spent the first two years as a Visionary, but the vendor this year moved into the Leader quadrant thanks to its strong focus on combining SD-WAN with other branch networking functions, including routing and security.

In June, the San Jose, Calif.-based company launched a new cloud-based offering to address remote working use cases as part of Versa‘s Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) portfolio: Versa Secure Access. The company in 2019 also launched Versa Titan, a cloud-managed security and SD-WAN offering as a midmarket and small-business offering.

The Versa ACE program gives partner access to Versa Titan and Secure Access solutions. Further, the program will offer formalized sales, pre-sales and technical training to help partners become Titan Specialized, Secure SD-WAN Specialized, and SASE Specialized.

As adoption of SASE increases in 2021, partners will play a critical role in SASE implementation, Atchison said.

“Partners need to quickly identify what their differentiation is in the market and this program provides them with better tools, resources, and advisors to develop their … competitive differentiation,” Atchison said.

Versa, which got its start in 2012, said that ACE partners will be rewarded for achieving competency and expertise in their specialty areas and will receive financial, sales and marketing benefits to open the door for new revenue opportunities. The program will also give partners simplified agreements and shorter deal registration and MDF approvals, Atchison said.

Versa’s agent partners will continue to go to market through Versa’s master agent partners, including Avant, Intelisys and Telarus, Atchison said.

In addition to VARs, MSPs, and agent partners, Versa also partners with many service provider partners, including CenturyLink, Comcast and NTT Communications.  

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