Kaspersky Lab Fires Up Partners, Anticipates Double-Digit Growth in 2014

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Industry analysts say Kaspersky Lab has gotten a reputation for aggressively undercutting the competition on deals. It's a strategy that may be working in the near term because most businesses don't want to spend a lot of money on antivirus products that are perceived as not being very effective at threat detection, said Paula Musich, principal analyst of enterprise security at Sterling, Va.-based research firm Current Analysis. Whether having an aggressive price point against competitors is a sustainable strategy remains to be understood, Musich said.

"Endpoint security has gotten a black eye because as malware evolves and becomes more customized, pure signature-based threat detection is ineffective," Musich told CRN. "It's a huge challenge for Kaspersky to show that their products have evolved to address threats with other techniques to improve catch rates."

Kaspersky Lab executives said a new partner portal has tools and new co-branded marketing materials to help partners generate their own leads. The company also is adding more regional field sales reps, improving the existing internal sales and support teams for partners. Kaspersky Lab Channel Chief Christopher Doggett said the company remains committed to its 100 percent channel sales model.

Doggett unveiled a new service provider certification program with premium support options for customers. Under the new program, partners can become a Kaspersky Lab CSP Accredited Partner through a four-day technical course and test that focuses on providing support beyond purely deploying the software.

Partners are being encouraged to sell a Platinum Support option at $30,000 a year for large businesses, which provides 24/7 access to a dedicated technical account manager. A Gold Support option provides 24/7 support for critical issues. The Gold level sells at a 12 percent uplift to the MSRP license cost. Speaking to partners during a presentation on Friday, Doggett said the program is a good revenue driver.

"You should be talking about the premium support and implementation services on every deal you sell," Doggett said.  "It's good business and will make sure your customers will have the best possible experience."

In addition, the company also hired John Salamone as its new vice president of SMB sales in North America. Salamone was previously vice president of sales at Waltham, Mass.-based software maker Brainshark. A company spokesperson said Salamone has experience in working with distribution channels inside and direct field sales. His first day in the new role was Feb 3.

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