Intel Security Channel Chief Assures Partners Product End-Of-Life Process Is Over (For Now)

Last fall, a series of portfolio changes at Intel Security had partners reeling. Now, that period of change has come to an end, at least for now, worldwide channel chief Richard Steranka told partners at the company's 2016 Partner Summit in Boca Raton, Fla.

In October, Intel Security revealed the upcoming end of life of nearly a dozen email, mobile and network security solutions, choosing Proofpoint to help transition partners after Jan. 11. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based vendor also said it intended to sell two network security lines to Raytheon|Websense around the same time.

But now, Steranka said in a keynote at the event, Intel Security is done making major changes to its portfolio -- at least for the time being.

[Related: Q&A: Intel Security Head Updates On New Strategy And How It Fits Into Intel Reorganization]

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"There are no more plans for end of life," Steranka said.

CRN later clarified Steranka's statement with Intel Security, which said the company is not likely done with product changes forever, but that there will be "probably none in the near term" and the security vendor is "done for a while" with product changes.

At the time, the changes caused waves of uncertainty among partners, who said they felt they lacked clarity on where Intel Security was headed next. While many of the lines were in areas where the security vendor wasn't a market leader, partners said then that a lack of clear communication on the changes had them worried about plans with the channel.

What's more, in the months afterward, some of the company's partners said the product divestitures left them with significant revenue losses. One partner executive who did not want to be named said his business would lose more than $1 million in revenue as a result of the product changes.

Steranka said Intel Security won't take the same approach if it were to end products' life again. He said the company was "bound by certain conditions" around disclosure, but will work to be more transparent with partners in the future.

"We learned our lesson," Steranka said. "We recognized that we caused pain in the process of this transition here and we learned our lesson. If we do go through the process again, and I doubt we will, we will be more thoughtful about it."

Steranka said Intel Security views its partners as its "only path to grow," accounting for around 80 percent of its overall business. To that end, the company said it is continuing to focus on improving its relationships with partners, investing in making it simpler to do business, investing heavily in its Platinum partners, reducing field team conflict, and protecting partner margins.

Steranka also said transparency and communication will be a key focus for Intel Security with its partners.

Steve Struthers, vice president of security and federal at Newport Beach, Calif.-based Dyntek, said while on a partner panel at the event that the ultimate goal of the changes under the new platform strategy is "great."

Kevin Dawson, president and CEO at Toronto-based Information Systems Architects, agreed, saying that it's clear that security platforms are where the market is heading.

"There's a saying: Imitation is the greatest form of flattery," Dawson said. "The fact that you're building out a platform strategy and others are trying to get there, shows you're on the right step."

It is crucial, however, Struthers said, that there is a smooth transition of the portfolio, as there is still an opportunity for product- and solution-driven sales in the interim, as well as further opportunities to integrate Data Exchange Layer with other security vendors.

"We have to have that good transition from where we are to the platform play," Struthers said.