Security Startup Opts For All-Channel Sales Model

Helping spur its channel sales and marketing efforts is the company's latest round of funding, a $17 million addition to ConSentry's coffers. Its third round of financing, which the vendor plans to unveil this week, comes from previous investors Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital, as well as a new investor Invesco Private Capital, bringing its total funding to more than $31 million.

The vendor next month plans to debut its formal channel partner program, which includes a deal registration initiative to help protect reseller margins.

Its first product, Secure LAN Controller, is slated to debut in the fall and aims to tackle issues such as user access control, regulatory compliance, threat management and malware containment for customers with at least 1,000 seats.

ConSentry executives said the purpose-built appliance will compete with Cisco Systems' Self-Defending Network initiative and help secure customers' internal networks by enforcing access policies and protecting the LAN from infected devices.

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ConSentry bills itself as a 100 percent channel company and is taking steps to build close-knit, profitable relationships with its partner community, already 15 members strong, said Dean Hickman-Smith, vice president of worldwide sales at ConSentry, Milpitas, Calif.

Hickman-Smith, formerly with NetScreen and Juniper Networks, is one of a trio of executives to join the company from big-name networking and security players in recent months. Franklin Grosvenor, vice president of operations, previously served at Cisco, while Sam Farsad, vice president of engineering, joined from Extreme Networks.

As part of its new program, each partner jointly develops a 12-month business plan with ConSentry that outlines sales goals, crafts sales and marketing strategies and lays out plans for training and demo lab set-up, Hickman-Smith said. Plans call for the company to support 20 to 30 U.S. partners, he said.

"It's a true integrated [approach]. We're almost looking at the channel like a regional office," Hickman-Smith said.

The company's goal is to account for at least 15 percent to 20 percent of its partners' revenue, he said.

Corsa Network Technologies expects to be doing $1.5 million in ConSentry business by next year, in part because the market for the technology is huge, said Aubrey Brown, president and CEO of the Campbell, Calif.-based company.

"Customers today want to build zones or segments in which security rules can be enforced down to the user level," he said, adding that ConSentry's appliance has both performance and price advantages over competitive offerings.

In addition to business planning, the vendor's channel strategy also includes free training, as well as the rollout of the ConSentry Opportunity Registration program. The program gives partners a six-month window of a preferential discount level to close registered deals.

The company declined to disclose pricing and discount levels ahead of the program's launch.