CRN Exclusive: ForeScout Launches New Partner Program, Moves Professional Services To Partners

ForeScout Technologies is updating its partner program to help solution providers capitalize on the opportunity for providing internet of things (IoT) security, and to capture more margin with its customers.

The security vendor is moving to a three-tier model under the ForeScout Forward Partner Program, where it previously only had a two-tier program, and it is driving more of a regional focus. Vice President of Global Channel Sales Todd DeBell said the regional focus would allow ForeScout to make partner investments overseas, as well as help the company be more hands on with its partners to ensure they are supported and qualified technology providers.

The new tiers will be based on both revenue and certification requirements, DeBell said. He said ForeScout would be working through training, enablement, and sales and engineering certification courses to get partners up to speed on benefits and features of the products and help them move up the tiers as quickly as possible.

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ForeScout is also moving under the new program to transition its professional services capabilities to the channel, a move DeBell said would help partners be stickier with clients and drive additional margin opportunities. The professional services team will now be measured on pushing the majority of its professional services and successful customer deployments through the channel, Pedro Abreu, chief strategy officer, said.

John Van Blaricum, vice president of global marketing at Kudelski Security, a Switzerland-based ForeScout partner, said the move to bring professional services to partners is "really important," especially as the partner builds out its managed security services practice.

"That long-term services and support relationship with the client is very important to us," Van Blaricum said.

The changes come after the appointment of DeBell as channel chief in July. DeBell joined ForeScout from FireMon, where he was vice president of worldwide channel sales and distribution. Kudelski's Van Blaricum said he feels that commitment from channel chief DeBell and ForeScout to engage with partners and clients.

"[DeBell] is a strong advocate for the channel … We are already starting to see some of that," Van Blaricum said.

CEO Michael DeCesare said the channel is an essential part of the strategy at ForeScout. He said he wants to enable partners to "own the entire lifecycle of ForeScout, educating them on the opportunity to sell the technology and engage around professional services.

"It's really important for us to be channel-first," DeCesare said.

The push to the channel comes as the opportunity around IoT security sales for partners becomes more real, DeCesare said. He said ForeScout sees significant momentum in its own business, with sales up 77 percent to $126 million in 2015. DeCesare said events such as the Dyn DDoS attack last fall show that opportunity will only increase going forward as threats to unsecured IoT become more tangible.

"The level of interest that we are seeing amongst the corporation that we are selling into … I think companies are really catching onto it in a big way," DeCesare said.

Van Blaricum said he is also seeing IoT as a growing opportunity for Kudelski Security, which launched a dedicated IoT Center of Excellence earlier this year to help companies secure their IoT devices. He said he believes ForeScout has a good vision to capitalize on that market, expanding traditional network access control solutions to IoT and other emerging technology areas.

"It is very good for a channel partner to have expertise in. I think that [ForeScout has] a vision to the future ... and how technology is evolving in the enterprise," Van Blaricum said.

The new ForeScout partner program will officially take effect in Q2 2017, the company said.