Check Point Unveils New Channel Program

The new approach, dubbed the Valued Partner Program, was rolled out at the company's annual partner conference in New Orleans.

It consists of a four-tier model that qualifies partners based on previous sales, product knowledge and commitment to training for its enterprise security products. Previously, partners were segmented solely by the types of services they sold. The program also includes a new approach to certification, requiring partners to achieve separate certifications for the three key areas of security.

According to Check Point President Jerry Ungerman, the changes will help the Israel-based security vendor designate those channel partners who stand out from the rest.

"This is something we're taking very seriously, a chance for us to indicate the level of commitment and success that each of our partners brings to the table," he said in an interview with CRN. "One of the most important things for partners is that we're going to take an active role in promoting the program to customers so they know what designations mean."

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Ungerman said the four categories in the new program will be Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. Solution providers in the Platinum category will be invited by the company to participate, while VARs in the other three categories will be determined by sales volume and certifications.

Ungerman also said the new certification process is designed to sharpen partner skills in each of three areas: perimeter security, internal security and Web security. Check Point will require solution providers to achieve certification in all three areas; only those partners who have completed all three certification exams will be considered for the Platinum distinction.

"The new certifications are our way of helping customers choose the partner that's best for them," noted Ungerman. "With these distinctions, customers will know who to ask."

The Valued Partner Program will incorporate other benefits, too, such as an Early Access Program, which provides Platinum partners with early education and access to newly launched products 90 days before shipment, and Priority Order Processing, which speeds up order processing at peak ordering times to help Platinum partners reduce sales cycles. What's more, the channel strategy will incorporate new online training tools, a simplified partner Web portal and a larger pool of marketing development funds.

News of these changes went over well with Brad Reed, director of Internet Security at CompuQuip Technologies, Miami, which just received Platinum designation. He said he welcomed the new changes as part of Check Point's continued commitment to strengthen its reseller base.

"Check Point is further enabling us to build expertise in selling their solutions to our targeted enterprise and high-end customers," Reed said. "We are excited about the program and think it will greatly improve our bottom line."