RSA Program Rewards SecurID Partners

The RSA SecurWorld channel program employs a Web-based portal through which partners can gain sales and technical training and register deals, said Art Coviello, president and CEO of RSA, Bedford, Mass. The portal goes live April 26.

The idea of SecurWorld is to accelerate channel sales of RSA's SecurID authentication products, which run mostly through VARs and account for about 70 percent of RSA's business, Coviello said. RSA has added an estimated 10,000 customers since 2002 and has a renewal rate of about 90 percent, he said.

"Everybody has a firewall, everybody has a VPN, but that's not enough. There is a requirement for strong authentication as well," Coviello said.

Under the new program, a partners' current RSA technical certification will remain valid, but partners without sales authorization training—something not required before—will have 90 days to complete such training.

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Partners seeking new technical certifications will save at least $1,500 using the new portal, which will provide the schooling necessary to prepare a partner to travel to one of RSA's approved testing centers to take the final certification exam, said Richard Turner, vice president of worldwide channels at RSA.

Margins will improve under the new program, increasing from about 20 percent to as high as 30 percent or more for certified partners that register deals, Turner said. The deal-registration component will help RSA step in with sales assistance to close a deal, and enable the vendor to create more effective promotions, he said.

RSA asks partners to register deals at least 45 days ahead of closing, and deals remain registered for 120 days. But registering gives no assurance that another partner won't step in and close the same deal, Turner said, adding that RSA is working on a way to properly credit partners that lose registered deals to other VARs.

Tim Hebert, CTO of Atrion Networking, Warwick, R.I., praised RSA's newest channel program, and said the only time he's run into problems with other RSA partners stepping on registered deals "was on large jobs where the customer issued an RFP."