Breach Detection Startup LightCyber Launches First Partner Program

Security startup LightCyber is placing its bets on the channel early, introducing its first full-fledged partner program Monday, just two years after its initial launch.

LightCyber, based in Los Altos, Calif., and Ramat Gan, Israel, is an up-and-coming security startup that provides an easy-to-use breach-detection and remediation solution called Active Breach Detection. Since launching two years ago, the company has already gained attention from some of security's biggest investors, including landing a personal equity investment from Shlomo Kramer, the co-founder of Check Point and Imperva, and early investor in Trusteer and Palo Alto Networks.

While LightCyber is a 100 percent channel-focused company and has been working with partners informally since its inception two years ago, the new Channel Alliance Program provides the infrastructure partners will need to grow, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Jason Matlof said.

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"I've been at numerous startups. I've been at big companies like Cisco and companies about to IPO like A10 Networks," Matlof said. "No other company that I've dealt with had this type of infrastructure in place [this early.]"

That includes online, self-paced training through what it calls Magna Academy, an online partner portal for digital and physical event and marketing content, and a formalized process for deal registration.

The program, available starting Monday, will have two tiers: Premier and Reseller. Reseller partners have a lower commitment with the company, but have a partner relationship for fulfillment and other needs. Premier partners, which will account for almost all of the company's current partners, have invested more in training, certification and sales, and will receive higher margins.

Jim Broome, president at Englewood, Colo.-based DirectDefense, is a partner of LightCyber and said the company's early plunge into channel investments formalizes the company's position in the marketplace.

"We're pretty excited," Broome said. "It's potentially watching a new company grow and support channel delivery both in the U.S. and internationally for the security market. More importantly, it’s a promising new technology."

In particular, Broome said that the education and certification components of the new program will be critical as DirectDefense tries to educate potential clients on the importance of the emerging category of breach-detection solutions. To date, that has been a challenge, he said.

"From Day 1, it's been a little bit of a struggle to teach customers why they need the technology. LightCyber, at least in my case, has bent over backwards to help not only position the product but also position the need for solutions like theirs ... At this point, I'm fairly confident in the technology and solutions," Broome said.

Matlof agreed that education is a challenge for companies like LightCyber, which are trying to break ground in an emerging market for breach-detection solutions that he said are critical for solving the "breach detection gap." That is one major reason why establishing support and channel commitment early on is so important, he said.

"The overwhelming majority of the security spend is still all about prevention technologies and trying to build taller and wider walls to stop the attackers coming in. Those technologies are necessary but not sufficient," Matlof said. "There's anxiety in understanding that there's a problem ... That's why education and training is so important for us to educate the market, and we're spending a lot of time on that, as you can see from all this infrastructure."

While LightCyber only started selling in the U.S. market a year ago, Matlof said he expects, with the help of this new partner program, to see accelerated channel growth in the region. The startup currently has between 12 and 14 partners in the region right now (with 20 partners globally) and expects to reach 100 in North America by the end of the year.

"That's very fast growth and that's why, with such a complex new market and technology, we had to make sure we had such a scalable process for training and on-boarding them," Matlof said.