Startup Adallom Adopts Channel Strategy With SaaS Security Platform

Security startup Adallom unveiled a formal partner program this week that includes back-end rebates and other incentives to attract security consultancies and resellers with strong security practices to sell its cloud access security platform.

The Israeli startup came out of stealth in 2013, joining a crowded market for so-called cloud security brokers, SaaS security platform vendors that specialize in protecting Box, and other popular SaaS services. Adallom's cloud auditing service doesn't provide encryption or single sign-on like other competitors. Instead, it specializes in monitoring access to the cloud services and spotting suspicious user behavior.

Now based in Palo Alto, Calif., Adallom received funding from several investors, including Sequoia Capital, a VC investment firm that also has a large stake in Adallom competitor Skyhigh Networks. Steve Kazan, Adallom's senior director of channel development, argues that the company isn't a direct competitor and is working on strengthening partnerships with Skyhigh and other cloud security brokers that specialize in data encryption, tokenization and authentication.

[Related: Solution Providers Get Stealthy On Shadow IT]

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The vendor's two major differentiators are its heuristics engine, which measures user behavior, and the Adallom Labs team, which specializes in threat analysis. The platform can be configured to simply alert when it identifies suspicious activity or prevent an attack in progress.

"We are very focused and we customize our product to be as good as we could possibly be for a specific SaaS application," Kazan said. "We want to understand how a SaaS service works, its architecture, and change when it changes, and give people the most secure protection we can give them on that particular application."

Adallom wants to attract security consultancies and managed services providers, but it is also having success selling its service through Box and Amazon Web Services, Kazan said. Adallom is investigating cross-selling and cross-marketing opportunities with those companies, Kazan said.

"The goal would be in North America to have a few hundred channel partners in every major NFL city to cover our bases," Kazan said.

Rather than shutting down and gaining control of shadowIT, the use of unauthorized cloud applications by employees, organizations are looking for tools that monitor and protect legitimate services, said Nate Couture, chief technology officer at Huntington, Vt.-based security consultancy NuHarbor, which is one of Adallom’s early partners. Couture said Adallom addresses security in a way that gives IT control and visibility into SaaS services.

"Adallom provides a more pervasive governance capability and appeals to clients who have specific compliance mandates, and have to have certain elements such as monitoring to maintain that compliance," Couture said.

Adallom was used to audit 700,000 business documents in Google Apps, logging over a million user actions and distilling it down to a small number of questionable activities, such as a user logging in from two countries in less than an hour or multiple failed login attempts, said Dermot Williams, CEO of U.K.-based solution provider, Threatscape. The security platform reduces the complexity of managing all of the popular SaaS services, Williams said.

Security guys don't want to navigate consoles from six or more sanctioned cloud apps, and Adallom gives them the ability to address controls across all of them in a single spot,’ Williams said. "It's providing an effective and easy-to-use solution for tracking and managing what is going on in those SaaS apps."

Adallom supports Salesforce, Google Apps, Box, Office 365, and IaaS platforms AWS and Azure. Pricing is simple, Kazan said, at $5 per user for a single application. Contracts can be signed on an annual basis or a three-year contract. It can be paid monthly or all at once, Kazan said.

The Adallom Channel Partner Program consists of a Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers. Gold and Platinum partners must agree to a business plan and have revenue goals of $500,000 and $1 million, respectively. Deal registration is available to all partners with a 15 percent delta for registered deals versus nonregistered deals.

Marketing and development funds are available for Gold and Platinum partners. The company also pays out a back-end rebate of 5 percent for Gold tier partners. The back-end payment for Platinum partners is based on the negotiated contract.