Awareness Technologies Flexing SaaS Security Muscle In The Channel

Awareness Technologies, fresh off its first six months with an official channel program, has its sights set on bringing more partners into the fold with its SaaS-based insider threat security tools.

And to keep its snowballing channel presence rolling, Awareness this week announced the appointment of Dean Galbreath, a security and channel veteran who comes off his previous role of channels director with McAfee. Galbreath joins Awareness as senior director of channel sales.

"We're really looking at the channel for our commercial growth," said Ken Totura, Awareness' chief channel officer.

And in six months, Awareness has proven its channel mettle in the SaaS security market. It has signed on more than 100 partners as it builds out its ecosystem of resellers, distributors and managed service providers (MSPs) selling its InterGuard SaaS-based unified insider threat prevention offering that comprises four modules: Web filtering, employee monitoring, data loss prevention and laptop recovery.

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Awareness' laser focus on building out its channel stemmed from the company seeing its success in the consumer space -- offering programs for parents keeping an eye on what their kids are doing online -- and determining it's SaaS security offerings could be put to work in businesses. But, Totura said, to get into business engagements a robust channel is necessary.

"If I can do it to watch what my kids are doing, why can't I see what my employees are doing?" Totura said was the rationale.

And while Totura said he's impressed with Awareness bringing aboard more than 100 partners in six months, there is still a great deal of room for growth and scale. Currently, channel sales represent less than 10 percent of Awareness' total business, but in 2011, Totura hopes to change that.

"We're focused on recruitment, on-boarding and training," he said, adding that lead generations are also key items on Awareness Technologies' 2011 to-do list.

"If I was able to bring in 100 [partners] in six months, what can I do for a full year?" he said, adding that through recruitment efforts the company is targeting mid-double digits for the percentage of business that flows through the channel.

And Awareness has set up a sweet spot, with more than 95 percent of its business customers having 50 or fewer seats. That SMB market, Totura said, can't be targeted efficiently by Awareness' large competitors, and the fact that Awareness offers SaaS security services, it doesn't require the massive investment of bulky appliances and software licenses, and at the same time delivers a new recurring revenue stream for partners.

"Riding the momentum of the cloud is a no-brainer," Totura said. "I can't find another cloud provider that's doing what we're doing."

And partners say that the need to find new ways to combat security threats, and leveraging a SaaS or cloud-based model, is becoming more necessary.

"Overall information security concerns continue to proliferate, highlighted by events like the release by WikiLeaks of U.S. diplomatic cables -- a direct example of the type of insider threats that Awareness Technologies' InterGuard solution addresses specifically," said Jack Monahan, managing principal of GS Advisors, a Reston, Va.-based government solution provider. "These events are spurring companies and federal agencies in particular to re-evaluate existing policies and adopt new technologies to prevent confidential data from getting leaked."

With the addition of Galbreath to Awareness' channel team, the company will be able to continue expanding its efforts in the channel. Galbreath brings 20 years of IT experience, much of it in channels and security. In the new role, Galbreath will be responsible for strategic partner recruitment, sales and technical training, marketing efforts and overall program management.

"Dean brings a deep technology, security and channel expertise necessary to help our partners navigate and succeed in today's growing managed services market. We look forward to Dean's added channel bench strengths in driving the expansion of our program," Totura said.