Tempered Networks Launches Channel Program To Help Partners Capitalize On IoT Security Opportunity

Tempered Networks launched a new partner program Tuesday, a move that it said will help partners take advantage of the growing opportunity to provide security for the Internet of Things and connected operational technology.

Tempered Networks, based in Seattle, started more than a decade ago as a technology dedicated for airplane manufacturer Boeing. Now commercialized, the company's technology allows for the microsegmentation of single-purpose systems using host identity protocols and hardened switch appliances as a way to "cloak" the endpoints and networks.

The company isn't new to the channel, operating as a 100 percent partner-driven company since its inception, but the launch of its Cyber Guardian Partner Program Tuesday formalizes the process for the first time, said Lee Finck, vice president of strategic partners and channel sales at Tempered Networks. The program levels are structured around competency and, through the company's new partner portal, partners are able to register deals for pricing discounts and train themselves using remote learning modules.

[Related: Keeper Security Launches Channel Program, New Enterprise Mobile Security Platform]

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The program is targeted at network security and automation-focused partners, Finck said. For those partners, Finck said that there is a huge opportunity around securing Internet of Things, outdated XP systems and connected operational technology such as POS systems, ATMs, HVAC systems, building operations systems and more. All of those markets have an exploding number of devices, and breaches such as the one at Target show the vulnerabilities in those systems if not secured properly, Finck said.

"We always tell partners that it's huge and getting huger," Finck said. "The key driver is that even with the major publicized attacks ... like Target, Premera ... all of those companies invested quite a lot in security. It wasn't something that they forgot to do, but they were not protected from malware already inside the network. ... Our product can help with that in cloaking the device."

That growth in connected devices translates into a need to move away from perimeter-based security technologies, which "doesn't keep up with attacks happening today," toward a layered, or defense in-depth approach, Finck said. For partners, that means both a more secure offering to clients as well as additional streams of revenue, he said.

Tempered Networks already has 21 partners signed up for the Cyber Guardian program and will be doing a targeted recruitment of partners who are specialized in the network security and automation markets.

"We're open to, as the Marines say, a few good partners," Finck said. "We're in recruitment mode and looking for companies that buy into defense in depth."

One of those new partners signed up is Lilien Systems, now part of Sysorex. Chief Sales Officer Bret Osborn said the company decided to partner with Tempered Networks three to four months ago because it saw it as a complement to its systems integration business.

"What I like about Tempered Networks is they are focused on the channel and they are focused on driving value through the channel," Osborn said. "We love new the new technology; we love technologies that are emerging, disruptive and margin-rich."

While some companies take a traditional perimeter-based "Fort Knox" approach to securing IoT devices, Osborn said he finds the Tempered Networks approach much more effective and cost-efficient. Clients seem to agree, he said, with eight out of 10 clients interested in the technology after first hearing about it.

While the program is still new, Finck said Tempered Networks plans on expanding its portal from an enablement perspective, adding training and marketing tools for partners.