Arbor Networks Retools Partner Program In Wake Of High Profile DoS Attacks

The Burlington, Mass.-based security vendor, which produces the Pravail line of appliances designed to protect enterprises from denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, introduced its program in 2011. The firm has had success with its Peakflow appliances that are sold to major service providers. To penetrate into enterprise data centers, Arbor is introducing a four-tier program with benefits and incentives, Arbor Networks Channel Chief Bill Lipsin told CRN.

"With our direct sales model we've been able to capture the largest market share of any network security vendor," Lipsin said. "That gave us foundation of understanding of not only where network security had to be but also how to penetrate a new market segment on the enterprise side."

[Related: New Threats Of Cyberattacks Against U.S. Banks ]

Rather than going with a shotgun approach to adding partners, Lipsin said Arbor is trying to systematically add partners to ensure there are skilled sales pros and certified network security staff who can properly deploy, configure and maintain the appliances.

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Ongoing, high-profile DoS attacks on U.S. banks have fueled interest from other financial firms and e-commerce in how to protect their businesses from being disrupted. While many are turning to their upstream ISPs to provide protection from high-volume attacks, other firms are looking for additional assurance that systems will stay online, especially with attacks designed to target application and email servers, Lipsin said. The volume of DoS attacks has increased in recent years, driven by hacktivists and other groups motivated to take down websites. For the first time, an attack on the nonprofit antispam blocklist firm Spamhaus, which registered the largest amount of traffic ever, purportedly reached a peak of 300 Gbps. Arbor competitors include Prolexic Technologies, Gigenet and Black Lotus, among others.

Much of the interest in denial-of-service protection is coming from organizations after they have experienced an incident, said Kaleb Jacob, founder of Manchester, N.H.-based Eagle Network Solutions, an Arbor channel Advantage Partner. Eagle's primary expertise is in Juniper Networks networking devices, but the company was driven to Arbor at a customer request for DDoS protection at a co-located, multi-tenant facility, Jacob said.

"Every packet that hits your IP address is slowing your network somewhat," Jacob said. "When it gets to that point where that interference is overriding your ability to do business, then there's a need to put anti-denial-of-service protection in front of your firewall."

Under Arbor's partner program, most partners will start out on the lowest two tiers, either the Authorized Reseller or Advantage tier, Lipsin said. The primary requirement at the Advantage tier are two certified engineers who receive either hands-on or online training on Pravail boxes and two account managers who also receive training.

Partners can then earn points to gain access to the Premier and Elite tiers, where an annual purchase commitment is required and partners must specialize in multiple Arbor products. "There needs to be a strong set of skills in place to understand what the customer needs and also the confidence to sell the right Arbor product and install and support it over time," Lipsin said.

The company's sales force is channel-neutral and works with partners to sell and see through the implementation of the products, he said.

Arbor provides back-end rebates, deal registration, marketing support, sales and technical training as well as lead referrals. Lipsin said the company is going to be looking for partners that specialize in certain verticals, such as the banking, ecommerce or government sectors, where DDoS protection is needed the most, he said.

"In enterprise, if the business depends on an online presence and revenue transactions are generated there, it’s a big driver for us," Lipsin said. "Another big area is government, partially because a lot of hackers may not be after the online website for financial reasons but ideological reasons."

Lipsin said the Advantage Partner Program has seen a 30 percent growth rate in partner revenue year-over-year. Arbor started to roll out its channel program beginning with distribution partnerships, inking a deal in 2011 with Tech Data in the U.S.