Pulse Secure Launches First Partner Program Independent Of Juniper Networks

Pulse Secure, the mobile security split-off of Juniper Networks, has rolled out a new channel program as the company works to establish itself as a standalone mobile security business, the company revealed Monday.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company officially formed last October, after Juniper announced it was splitting off the Junos Pulse portfolio to Siris Capital for $250 million in July 2014. As a standalone company, Pulse Secure offers SSL VPN, unified access control and workspace virtualized containerization of applications on mobile devices.

After splitting off from Juniper, Pulse Secure had the rare opportunity to start from scratch and evaluate what's been working and not working historically in partner programs across the industry, said Doug Erickson, vice president of worldwide partner sales. From there, Erickson said, Pulse Secure built its Connect Now partner program around the ideas of simplicity, competency and profitability.

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The new Connect Now partner program, launched Monday, has three tiers based on skill and sales: Community, Secure Plus and Secure Premier. The program also includes deal registration, support services, professional services and a partner portal. While those elements are partner program standards, one thing that sets the Connect Now program apart is a lack of certifications, accrediting partners instead based on direct evaluations of their experience and competency with the product line.

Pulse Secure has pre-signed a small group of partners from Juniper and is welcoming other Juniper partners with "arms wide open," Erickson said, but he expects the company will also add net new partners as it goes to market through the channel.

Erickson said Pulse Secure's approach to the channel includes three issues: First, he said, is how to take the company's technology and enable partners to capitalize on what he sees as a huge opportunity in the mobile security market.

"What's interesting is, mobile security has been a buzzword for a long time, ... but the dynamic has changed significantly very quickly [with BYOD]," Erickson said. "There's a ton of challenges and the customer is definitely trying to figure that out. This is a great opportunity for partners to solve their mobile security problems."

Second, Erickson said, Pulse Secure wants to tailor its engagement and enablement with partners to their business model, not the other way around. Finally, he said, the company wants to make sure partners have all the tools they need to be successful, including deal registration, support services and partner advisory councils.

Abel Nelson, vice president of managed security services at McLean, Va.-based GTT Communications, said he has been working with the product set under its various parent companies for about 10 years. He said he is looking forward to what the Pulse Secure is going to be able to do as a standalone company.

"One of the things that was a little bit of a consideration from my perspective was the relative amount of attention that Juniper was able to put and focus on this core product set, which is to say, not very much," Nelson said. "Absolutely, from that perspective, I think Pulse Secure and the team there have much more razor-sharp focus and have really gone after the marketplace and redefine what it means to be ... in the secure access space. By having a more singular focus on the security element and the access element, Pulse Secure is going to really be able to bring some new energy and buzz into the product."

In particular, Nelson said, he likes the idea of ditching certifications -- which he says are often more of a check box than an evaluation of competency -- in favor of real-world experience with the product set.

"That’s a little bit of a fresh take on partner programs," Nelson said.

"As Pulse Secure begins to roll this out this year and hit the market with [the partner program], it's definitely something that we're keeping a very close eye on," Nelson continued. "We're bullish on the company, bullish on what new opportunities we can bring to the table with them, and we'll see."