Check Point Adds New Certification Requirements, Sales Commitments

The new approach, dubbed the Valued Partner Program, was rolled out earlier this month 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. The program also includes a new approach to certification, requiring partners to achieve separate certifications for the three key areas of security"perimeter, internal and Web.

The changes will help Redwood City, Calif.-based Check Point designate those channel partners who stand out from the rest, said President Jerry Ungerman. "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. "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."

The four categories 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.

Jeff Bennett, CEO of SiegeWorks, Dublin, Calif., said the channel changes are good news. Under Check Point's old channel hierarchy, it was difficult for customers to differentiate which partners fell into certain classifications, Bennett said.

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"This should help partners with one particular skill set make more money off of that skill set," he said. "Over the long run, I bet it will raise the bar for everybody."