CRN Exclusive: ObserveIT Launches Partner Program, Looks To Make Big Channel Push In North America

When ObserveIT dove headfirst into the North American market after a venture capital investment, it invested heavily in an inside sales strategy, a departure from the channel-focused sales model that brought it success internationally.

Now, the Boston, Mass.-based insider threat detection and mitigation company is looking to change that by revamping its partner program and building out its sales channel in the region.

The new ObserveIT Partner Program will include two tiers: Authorized and Premier. The Premier tier includes sales and technical training and certifications, dedicated channel and sales resources, sales incentives, marketing program support and 25 point margins. The Authorized tier includes 10 percent margins, deal registration, sales training and dedicated channel and sales resources.

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The goal of the program is to ensure that partners have the tools, resources and attention they need to be successful selling ObserveIT, Elizabeth McKenna, the company's channel sales manager, said.

"Our message is resonating well with [partners], and their customers are asking for solutions like ours that works really well. We want it to be a completely positive experience," McKenna said. She said ObserveIT is focusing on recruiting partners with a security program, with large enterprise accounts or databases of customers, technical advisory capabilities and complementary product offerings.

Suchinth Kumar, chief revenue officer at ISSquared, a Los Angeles-based ObserveIT partner, said one of the reasons his company first decided to partner with ObserveIT was its partner program. He said the revamped partner program, in particular, is strong because of how responsive the company is to partner needs and its aggressive pricing.

"We see tremendous opportunity in growing this partnership," Kumar said. "ObserveIT has the right [partner] strategy. I think their technology is very strong and with this partner program, I am extremely bullish about ObserveIT."

The launch comes as solving the insider threat challenge becomes more top of mind for customers, ObserveIT CEO Mike McKee said, with numbers of 50 to 90 percent of breaches involving some inside actor. As the awareness grows, McKee said it is shifting from an issue of ignorance to one of negligence for them not to invest in an insider threat solution.

"I think organizations are realizing we can't have this massive blind spot," McKee said. That leads to both a greenfield opportunity for partners, though that opportunity can be challenged if insider threats aren't a standalone budget item yet.

ISSquared's Kumar said he has seen the conversations with his customers around insider threats change in the last two or three years.

"It is coming up more frequently. There is much more awareness than there was two years ago," Kumar said. He said CISOs are mainly looking to have a complementary set of solutions with insider threat analytics. "We're trying to make sure we evolve with the market and are offering a broad enough range of services that are technically competent, world-class software and meeting a need that customers have," he said.

McKee said ObserveIT is setting itself apart in this market by integrating with major SIEMs, having a wide-reaching base of proven customers globally, and the potential for a value-add sale on top of existing solutions. While other providers, including in the endpoint and user behavior analytics spaces, say they address this problem, McKee said they don't get the full forensics, only offer data or aren't as mature as a dedicated insider threat solution.

As ObserveIT builds out its channel strategy in North America, McKee said the company would be honing it to focus on value-add partners who are more involved with the partnership. The company currently has 280 partners globally. He said ObserveIT would work to build deeper traction with some of its more involved partners and expand in North America "intelligently."