Check Point To Address 'Security Sprawl'

The title of this year’s event, “Architecting A Secure Future,” reflects the expansion of Check Point’s channel focus from technical concerns to the business issues partners face in managing the “security sprawl” of multiple devices and securing remote access, said Ken Fitzpatrick, chief marketing officer at Check Point, an Israel-based company with offices in Redwood City, Calif. About 500 channel partners are expected to attend, he added.

Check Point’s recent additions to its VPN-1 line that incorporate unified threat management (UTM) are a reflection of the vendor’s goal to tap into the growing demand for integrated security solutions and simplified management, said Peter Bybee, CEO of Network Vigilance, a security solution provider in San Diego.

“They’re jumping on the hot trend right now, that is the UTM space,” Bybee said. “[UTM is] a way to provide an integrated solution that allows you to choose one vendor to go through the entire stack, and a lot of customers see this as the best approach to take.”

Check Point recently went through a rough patch, issuing a first-quarter earnings warning linked in part to its failed acquisition of intrusion-prevention vendor SourceFire. Despite these troubles, its channel program has remained strong, solution providers said.

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“Their [channel] reach has grown bigger and they’ve made a lot of effort to improve the ratio of engineering support staff to salespeople,” said Steve Sanchez, senior account manager at Dyntek, Irvine, Calif.

Check Point is one of the few companies that still has an MDF program based on sales, said Oliver Poppenberg, vice president of sales at Versatile, Vancouver, British Columbia. “[This model] gives you the freedom to decide how you want to go to market with Check Point. You get money based on your sales, as opposed to having to submit a business plan and ask for funding, as many other vendors have done,” he said.

However, there are concerns about rapidly swelling partner ranks. “They have flooded the channel with people who can sell their products, so now you have a hundred people competing for margins on every deal,” said a source. “They also allow partners who aren’t qualified to sell their product, which turns everything into a price war.”