CRN Exclusive: Blue Coat Systems Expands Cloud Security Ecosystem With New Technology Partner Program

Blue Coat Systems is continuing its transformation into a cloud security player with the launch of a new Cloud Ready Partner Program to bring more solutions into its ecosystem for partners.

The new program, unveiled Wednesday, establishes a framework with other security vendors, integrating their solutions into the Blue Coat Security Platform. The vendors integrated so far include AirWatch, AlienVault, Box, Centrify, Dropbox, E8 Security, Exabeam, Fortscale, Gemalto, HPE, Seculert, Splunk and Symantec, according to the company.

For partners that are already part of the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company's Channel Advantage Partner program, the new program for technology partners presents a big opportunity to build more extensive solutions for cloud and application security, said Kurt Mills, vice president of worldwide channel sales and operations. That is something partners have been demanding since he came onboard earlier this year, Mills said, as they look to tailor their solutions to varied customer needs and an evolving cloud marketplace.

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"With this ability for [partners] to now have the benefit of sewing these solutions with this new [Cloud Ready Partner Program], it's just another evolvement of where the marketplace is going," Mills said.

Doug Close, vice president of security engineering at Chicago-based Sayers, a longtime Blue Coat partner, said the new partner program will help the solution provider architect better solutions and help its clients get the most value out of their security spending. That isn't a trend he sees with all of his vendor partners, he said.

"We're always happy to see our partners working with our other partners. It's an opportunity for us to be relevant to our clients and, at the end of the day, will deliver more value to our clients," Close said.

The launch fits into a more than year-long evolution for Blue Coat, which has been looking to secure itself a strong position in the emerging market for cloud security solutions. The company has already made two acquisitions in that area, Perspecsys in July and Elastica in November.

"Blue Coat is someone [partners] can look to confidently to say we will expand with them. That's where we are headed," Mills said.

Mills said the new vision for Blue Coat, in addition to the new Cloud Ready Partner Program, is all about providing partners of all types with the tools and technologies they will need to succeed in securing a hybrid and cloud-based world. Sayer's Close said he "absolutely" sees the same trend with his own clients as talk around cloud starts to turn into action.

"A lot of our clients who have hesitated to do things in the cloud have started to leverage us. That’s where our data center practice and security practice are converging and providing value to our clients," Close said.

However, Mills said, partners will have to grab hold of that opportunity offered by Blue Coat if they want to stay relevant.

"Everybody has been talking about cloud for a few years now. … It's happening. It's happening fast and it's happening all around us," Mills said. "We're changing tires and we're moving fast [to keep pace with it]."

"They have to move quickly or, I hate to say it, they will become obsolete. That's a very real possibility. … We can provide everything they need from a technology and training standpoint, but they have to want to do it."