12 Key Cybersecurity Partner Program Updates In Q3 Of 2023

We’re taking a look at the security vendors that unveiled major partner program updates and new channel chiefs in the third quarter of 2023.

Opportunities For Partnering

The third quarter of 2023 has seen a number of major channel program announcements in the cybersecurity industry, with companies of all sizes looking to double down on partners. Security vendors that unveiled major partner program updates or named new channel chiefs in Q3 include some of the industry’s largest vendors, such as CrowdStrike and SonicWall; up-and-coming, venture-backed players such as Salt Security; and even early-stage startups such as Phylum.

[Related: 5 Big Takeaways From CrowdStrike’s 2023 Partner Summit]

As just one indicator, cybersecurity giant CrowdStrike had two major partner program launches in September, with the debut of its new Accelerate partner program as well as a new program for MSPs and MSSPs. Ultimately, CrowdStrike understands that when it comes to bringing security technologies to customers, “everything starts with a partner,” Co-Founder and CEO George Kurtz said during the company’s Partner Summit in September.

Chief Business Officer Daniel Bernard noted that the company is not just finding traction with a few top partners, either. There are now more than 300 partners that have done more than $5 million in revenue with CrowdStrike, Bernard said — and 160 of those partners have done more than $10 million in revenue with the company. “This is what building a world-class, partner-first ecosystem is all about,” he said. “We are committed to building cybersecurity’s most successful channel.”

In the following slides, we’ve collected the details on 12 key partner program updates or channel chief appointments in the third quarter of 2023.

* CrowdStrike (two program announcements)

* SonicWall

* Expel

* JFrog

* Mimecast

* Forescout

* Salt Security

* Censys

* Tufin

* Gurucul

* Phylum


The launch of the Accelerate partner program constitutes the biggest overhaul of CrowdStrike’s channel program since it debuted in 2015, according to Bernard (pictured). The Accelerate program includes the introduction of new incentives, improved training and increased support resources in areas such as marketing.

The program’s incentives include larger rebates and pricing advantages for higher-tier partners, along with a unique new reward for individual partner sellers, the company said. The incentive, CrowdCard, is a debit card that will be automatically loaded with funds when salespeople close a deal, Bernard said. In terms of training, the company announced the introduction of a refreshed video series, CrowdClass, which consists of short, entertaining videos that impart knowledge about CrowdStrike products, he said.

Additionally, CrowdStrike introduced a new marketing campaign platform, dubbed “The Grid.” The platform includes an array of co-branded sales resources, and is offered as a self-service tool for simplified usage by partners, according to the company.

Separately, CrowdStrike announced the launch of Falcon Complete for Service Providers, a program aimed at providing MSPs, MSSPs and other partners with the ability to “create and augment their service offerings with CrowdStrike’s elite 24/7 expert monitoring, proactive threat hunting, integrated threat intelligence and end-to-end remediation offerings,” the company said in a news release. The program is designed to enable partners such as MSPs/MSSPs to “rapidly scale” their managed security service offerings, while also closing skill gaps and augmenting their teams, by tapping into CrowdStrike’s MDR capabilities, according to CrowdStrike.


SonicWall unveiled its overhauled SecureFirst Partner Program that introduces a range of improvements aimed at driving accelerated growth with partners, according to SonicWall Global Channel Chief Michelle Ragusa-McBain (pictured). Crucial updates for MSPs and MSSPs in the new program include the introduction of a monthly consumption and billing model, in contrast to previous requirements for commitments of one to three years for procuring product licenses.

In another major update, SonicWall lowered the threshold for revenue or recurring revenue that partners must hit to earn a rebate across the SecureFirst program’s tiers by between 25 and 50 percent, Ragusa-McBain said. At the top platinum tier, the revenue threshold has been lowered by 50 percent, she said.

In terms of MDF (market development funds), SonicWall also introduced an enhanced system where partners automatically accrue the funds based on their revenue or recurring revenue levels — in contrast to the previous system of proposal-based MDF, Ragusa-McBain said. Depending on the partner’s tier, they’ll receive 1 to 3 percent of their revenue as MDF.

In terms of support, SonicWall is now making Tier 2 premium support — which had previously only been available as a paid option — available as a complementary benefit to partners in the top platinum tier, according to Ragusa-McBain. Additionally, for all partners, the company has revamped its SonicWall University training program in connection with the new SecureFirst launch, she said.

The retooled SecureFirst Partner Program is now available for new partners in North America. For existing partners and those outside North America, the program will be rolled out starting Feb. 1, 2024, to give partners a chance to plan for the transition, Ragusa-McBain said.


Managed detection and response provider Expel announced a revamped channel program that introduces enhancements around support and profitability as well as the company’s first-ever partner portal. Expel is now committed to making partners the “primary driving force in our go-to-market,” Expel Co-Founder and CEO Dave Merkel (pictured) told CRN.

Key updates in the new program include the introduction of dedicated support in the form of partner sales, partner development and partner marketing managers, the company said. The partner development managers, for instance, will have a “very small number of partners” they’re working with, said Expel Channel Chief Dan Webb.

Other major improvements are coming to profitability for partners in the new program, Expel executives said. The company previously only offered a flat, 20-percent discount for resellers, according to Webb. But as part of the new program, Expel is offering discounts in three tiers — at 20 percent, 25 percent or 30 percent — in return for commitments from the partners around revenue and certifications, he said.

Additionally, the updated channel program includes the launch of the Expel Partner eXchange, the company’s first partner portal — which includes a deal registration system that replaces the vendor’s previous form-based process for registering deals, Webb said. The Expel partner portal also includes access to virtual training resources and marketing assets for the first time, complementing the company’s in-person training and enablement, according to Webb.

The revamped Expel partner program is initially focused on value-added resellers but will soon be expanded to include managed and professional services partners, the company said.


JFrog announced the launch of its first global channel program, providing its reseller, systems integrator, service and consulting partners with a range of incentives, sales and marketing resources, and technical enablement and training opportunities. “If you think about how the world has evolved over the last 20 or so years, all the technology needs of the biggest companies in the world have significantly shifted or changed from managing servers [and] making sure they have secure connectivity across sites, to cloud and data and AI and machine learning,” said Kelly Hartman (pictured), JFrog senior vice president of global channels and alliances, in an interview with CRN.

The program offers incentives and deal structures that provide partners with multiple ways to generate more revenue, according to the company. Hartman said partner rewards, for example, will consider such factors as whether a deal is a contract renewal or new business and whether the prospect was brought to JFrog by the partner or the lead was generated by the company.

Under the program dedicated partner managers work with partners starting with the onboarding process. The company provides curated sales and technical enablement resources that help partners train on the JFrog platform as well as sales and technical teams to support each qualified opportunity. Partners also have access to co-branded marketing kits and an expanded product and sales enablement resource library.


Mimecast launched its new Partner One Program with improved performance-based incentives and a new enablement model, according to the company. The email and collaboration security vendor is providing channel partners with an “accelerated go-to-market strategy” through the new program, said Stan de Boisset, senior vice president of worldwide partners at Mimecast, in a news release. Mimecast’s MSP and technology partner programs are slated to be migrated into the new Partner One Program “in the future,” the company said in the release.

The program launch followed Mimecast’s appointment of Boisset (pictured) as its new channel chief in April. A tech industry veteran, Boisset formerly held roles at Tableau, Juniper Networks and Jumio.


Forescout announced hiring a veteran of cybersecurity channel programs, David Creed (pictured), as its new vice president of worldwide channel sales. Creed had most recently worked as a vice president in the service provider partner program at Armis, a Forescout competitor, since 2021. Before that, he’d served in director roles in the channel organizations at Carbon Black (acquired by VMware in 2019) and McAfee, for a total of 15 years.

In a news release, Forescout — which offers an automation-driven security platform focused on protecting the full range of connected devices — said that Creed will be “responsible for shepherding the next phase of growth across the company’s channel ecosystem.”

Salt Security

API security vendor Salt Security announced the hire of Michael Porat (pictured) to oversee both the company’s channel partner program and its technology alliances. Porat — who has been hired for the newly created position of senior vice president for corporate and business development at Salt — was most recently an SVP at Vectra.ai. Before that, he served in executive positions at Cisco, including as head of corporate development for Cisco’s data center business. At Salt Security, Porat will work to “further strengthen our channel program,” said Michael Nicosia, co-founder and COO at Salt Security, in a new release.


Censys, which offers an “internet intelligence platform” used for exposure management and threat hunting, announced the hire of Briana Gulley (pictured) to head its channel program. Gulley — who has been hired as vice president of global channel at Censys — was most recently director of North America channel for identity at SentinelOne. She joined the company through SentinelOne’s acquisition of Attivo Networks, where she was director of North America channel. At Censys, Gulley’s strategy involves “emphasizing the company as a channel-first sales organization with a goal to take no deals directly and bring partners into every new opportunity,” Censys said in a news release.


Network security vendor Tufin announced enhancements to its channel program that included the debut of a new partner portal. Through the updated Tufin Partner Portal, partners can gain access to “simplified” deal registration, improved tracking of demand-generation activities and enhanced demo tools — as well as new sales, marketing and technical tools, according to the company. Tufin, a longtime specialist in network security policy automation, offers policy automation for cloud security, as well.


Gurucul, a provider of “next-gen” SIEM (security information and event management), announced improvements to its partner program focused on demonstrating its focus on “channel-first sales,” the company said in a news release. The updates “improve the ability for Gurucul and its selling partners to co-develop and deliver exceptional value to enterprises,” the firm said. Improvements to the channel program, according to Gurucul, include a new partner portal with “robust” training, enablement and marketing resources; deal registration featuring “dramatically increased” discounts for partners; and a significant increase in MDF (market development funds).


Software supply chain security firm Phylum unveiled its partner program for resellers as well as tech alliance and OEM partners. For its reseller partnerships, Phylum aims to “bolster their software supply chain security portfolios and add value to SCA [software composition analysis], EDR [endpoint detection and response], CNAPP [cloud-native application protection platform], security analytics and observability products,” the company said in a news release.