Proofpoint Paves Way For MSSPs

Proofpoint said it expects to add 50 to 75 partners as MSSPs. The Cupertino, Calif., vendor currently sells software and appliances with antispam, antivirus and digital asset security capabilities. Dave Crilley, director of channel marketing, said Proofpoint is going after specific partners based on their sales projections and location. "We want to recruit an appropriate number of MSSPs," said Crilley. "You don't want them on every street corner."

Crilley said solution providers that sign up for the MSSP program will receive co-marketing funds, a starter kit, training and other tools, including a guidebook for managed service contracts.

That guidebook may prove especially helpful, said Tyler Roye, president and CEO of Proofpoint partner Invision, Commack, N.Y. According to Roye, many vendors that claim to enable MSSPs don't adequately explain vital licensing differences for managed services.

"With this program, the rubber really has met the road," Roye said. "There are about a half-dozen critical contractual issues that an MSSP wants to see in this kind of a licensing deal, and Proofpoint gets them all."

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Proofpoint isn't the first security vendor to turn solution providers into MSSPs. Symantec, SonicWall and Lucid Security recently have launched similar programs, and vulnerability management firm nCircle is expected to unveil MSSP incentives by April 15.

Such programs offer little beyond basic technology, Crilley said. In contrast, Proofpoint's effort aims to give solution providers everything they need to start a managed security services business. "We are trying to make it easier [for solution providers] to make the transition to MSSPs," he said.