Check Point's New President Focuses On Mobility, SMB Cloud Services

On the heels of a major promotion from Check Point’s channel chief to president, Amnon Bar-Lev says his new role will pave the way for a slew of changes for the network security company that include endeavors in the mobile space and SMB cloud services, with a reinvigorated focus on partner enablement.

Bar-Lev stepped up earlier this month from his role as channel chief to take the helm as the president of Israel-based Check Point Software Technologies .

Bar-Lev said that all in all, his job duties in his expanded role would remain much the same. ’Not much really changes in my capacity,’ he said, adding that he would continue to oversee the company’s customer-facing functions, including sales, marketing, business development, and technical services, as well as the its global partner program.

Bill Calderwood, president and CEO of The Root Group, a security solution provider based in Boulder, Colo., said that Bar-Lev’s appointment was a ’good move’ for the company.

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’Amnon has been a very good channel advocate,’ he said. ’I think he has a very good understanding of the relationship between Check Point, the channel and our customers. He realizes that having financially healthy partners is an important engine for growing his business.’

As such, going forward, Bar-Lev said one of his primary goals as president will be to ensure and maintain partners’ profitability.

’Like any business, we want to grow, to be profitable. We want to make sure everyone is successful,’ he said. ’Being a company that does everything through the channel, if we’re successful, our partners are successful.’

That means renewed emphasis on product quality and innovation, Bar-Lev said. Looking ahead, Bar-Lev said that one of the biggest product developments for Check Point will be in the area of mobility.

’This is a complex problem,’ he said. ’It cannot be solved as easily as a plug-and-play device. Every partner has different requirements. People want to use those devices seamlessly. They don’t want to have two separate environments.’

Subsequently, Check Point has added a mobile security function, or ’blade’ to its flagship software blade architecture, which gives the company the ability to provision security controls, such as IPS and remote data wipe, on the mobile platform. The mobile blade can be applied to Apple's iOS, Android, Symbian and Windows PC platforms, Bar-Lev said.

’We need to protect mobile devices from malware and botnets,’ Bar-Lev said. ’We need to protect against very sophisticated targeted attacks like we see in Stuxnet or as in RSA. There are so many things happening that we’re not aware of. The market is really demanding it.’

While typically regarded as an enterprise-focused company, Check Point is throwing itself full force into the SMB spcae with products and services geared specifically for smaller customers.

In particular, the company is launching SMB managed security services, which incorporates a security appliance placed on premises in the customer’s environment and managed remotely through the cloud. The service comes in either a one- or three-year package, with flexible financing options that give customers the option of paying on a monthly, yearly or all upfront basis.

’Simplicity is the name of the game,’ Bar-Lev said. ’It’s neat and simple, plug and play. You plug it into the wire and this is it.’

Next: Check Point Makes SMB Inroads

Partners will have the option to host the Check Point cloud environment or resell the Check Point hosted cloud managed services. Partners who choose to host the cloud services receive additional discounts, because of their responsibility for setting up the customer’s security policies and handling the first level support.

The company is also pushing farther into the smaller markets with the hire of a new vice president solely dedicated to the SMB market, Bar-Lev said adding, ’there’s much more room for us to grow there.’

’We’re looking to offer them new appliances, so they can double the business with us,’ Bar-Lev said. ’When business is growing, everyone is happy.’

Also on the channel side, Bar-Lev said that Check Point has focused much its efforts on ease of doing business for partners, with a spate of training and education materials, videos and Webinars. In addition, Check Point is broadening its enablement capabilities with a product quoting tool for partners when calculating costs for their customers, complete with appliance comparison and data sheets, discount and support rates, and trade-in and functionality upgrade calculation, among other things.

Many of the impending and current changes have been inspired by Check Point’s three partner advisory councils -- based in Europe, APAC and the U.S. -- which have provided a steady stream of feedback.

’There’re a lot of places to improve by nature,’ Bar-Lev said.

Meanwhile, The Root Group’s Calderwood said that Bar-Lev has made efforts to listen to his channel base while being amenable to implementing changes where necessary.

’He has been in the trenches with his partners and understands the value proposition we bring him,’ Calderwood said. ’While he may not always agree with the channel, he has been very good about listening and communicating where he stands. The channel may have even changed his mind a time or two.’