NAC Vendor ForeScout Rolls Out Upgraded Channel Program

Network Access Control vendor ForeScout Technologies is ramping up in the channel with a newly expanded global Access Partner Program.

The new Access Partner program, officially launched last Thursday, takes the old program up a few notches in terms of enablement, margins and services with sales incentives, consulting services and new partner technical and sales portals.

The program enhancements come as the Cupertino, Calif.-based company looks to expand its channel presence and grow its NAC business with its flagship automated security control platform, CounterACT, company executives said.

’We want to expand and enable more business for our channel partners,’ said Brant Kennedy, ForeScout vice president of worldwide sales. ’Channel partners are an extension of our own staff, and we want to build a business around what we can do for them.’

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The program enhancements include sales, sales engineer and service training; co-branded sales and marketing program materials; tiered partner levels; evaluation product and demo guidance; pre-packaged customizable professional services; online deal registration; a dedicated partner technical portal for updates, plugins, knowledge base and case management, as well as a 24/7 sales portal for interactive sales and marketing communications.

Kennedy said that the new partner portals contained a slew of sales enablement and demand generation resources and tools, such as slide decks, training materials and ’meetings in a box.’ The portals are also user friendly and customizable to partners regarding vertical or geographic location, ’depending on who you are and where you are in the world,’ Kennedy said.

Kennedy said that, for example, the partner portal could help public sector resellers by providing a federal procurement path. ’You have to speak the language,’ he added.

ForeScout partner Judi Buckardt, president and CEO of Konsultek, an information security solution provider based in the Chicago area, said the dedicated partner portals were among the most attractive upgrades to the program.

’It just makes sense,’ she said. ’They’re really smart with resources here, and they’re giving us this nice package to enable us to grow with their products without having to hire a bunch more people.’

Kennedy also said that the new Access channel program also comes complete with a formalized deal registration process that offers a better set of discounts to the partner first bringing the deal to the table.

’In many cases, the local resellers have unique, long-standing relationships with corporations in their backyard,’ he said. ’That’s a special and unique relationship and if they bring that deal to us, they’re trusting us to protect it.’

Buckardt said the co-branding sales and beefed up marketing program was also an attractive feature for partners, indicating that the company was serious about promoting its products in the channel.

’Now we know that there’s a budget there. Marketing dollars are usually the first that get cut from any program,’ she said, adding that she’s seen ’a bigger splash in the last few months in terms of marketing. ’We’re seeing that they’re going to put marketing dollars behind this, and it shows how confident they are about that,’ she said.

Next: NAC Lost Steam In Channel

Over the past few years, NAC has lost some traction in the channel, as partners said the security solution was complicated, difficult to install and required a lengthy sales cycle. Subsequently, several standalone NAC vendors have shuttered their doors or been absorbed into a more comprehensive solution via an acquisition.

However, Buckardt said that ForeScout is attempting to overcome some of these stigmas with a product that’s easy to install, demo and deploy.

’NAC can be complicated. But they’ve been able to simplify that their solution so that NAC is easier to use,’ she said. ’It’s something that more and more people are asking for.’

Kennedy said that ForeScout was also expanding its partner portfolio in the mobile space with its CounterACT for Mobile Security, an automated security control platform aimed at identifying issues, applying mobile security polices and remediating security problems created from the dearth of mobile devices in the workplace.

Kennedy added that the company has a strong and growing business in the federal space -- all of which is conducted through the channel -- with a presence in various military sectors including the US Air Force, Army and Navy, and is looking to expand with other verticals such as banking, insurance and health care.

And with its growing relevence, Konsultek’s NAC business has increased about 65 percent over the last year and continues to grow, Buckardt said.

’We’re definitely seeing an uptick,’ she said. ’Customers are trying to combat the threats out there with cyber security. NAC is usually something in their top five projects they’re wanting to put a bullet in.’