CRN Exclusive: Security Vendor Strongarm Rolls Out Partner Program To Boost Channel Footprint

Automated malware protection vendor Strongarm has launched a partner program to help grow its channel from accounting for 50 percent of business today to 90 percent a year from now.

The Wakefield, Mass.-based company said it hopes to grow its existing base of a dozen solution providers by, on average, one partner per week through its new program, according to Joel Silberman, senior vice president of business development and strategy.

"The partner aspect is important for our product to reach our market," Silberman told CRN exclusively. "Adding another layer is really in the channel's interest."

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Strongarm's intrusion-detection and incident-response security services are provided under a subscription model based on the total number of users, Silberman said. MSPs without a security service today will be charged $2 per user, per month for access to Strongarm; Silberman said they should be able to charge clients $5 to $15 per user per month for a security offering.

MSPs that already have customers under contract for a security services program are eligible for Strongarm's jump-start package, where the solution provider can pay a flat $2,500 fee to deploy Strongarm to its existing customers for one year regardless of the number of users. Silberman said this offering is aimed at partners who can't raise their prices because of existing customer agreements.

Strongarm will appeal most to SMB-focused channel partners that are currently on the resale side of security and are looking to get into managed security services, he said. The product is a better fit for existing MSPs than existing MSSPs, Silberman said.

The offering addresses two of the biggest holes in the SMB security space, Silberman said: the complication of installing next-generation endpoints, and the false perception that a firewall and anti-virus software provide sufficient protection.

"Every day, we see a phishing attack, and people are understanding that phishing gets past a firewall and anti-virus," he said.

Solution providers typically have to beef up their expertise and add staff before rolling out an additional security service to customers, Silberman said. But Strongarm's use of automation allows MSPs to bring that capability to customers without having to bring on additional people.

"There's not a lot of that talent out there," Silberman said. "It's just hard to bring on board."

Although Strongarm's outbound sales and marketing efforts are very much focused on the U.S. today, Silberman said the company already has channel partners in Asia, Scotland, Italy and South Africa. Since Strongarm is a completely Software-as-a-Service-based offering, Silberman said partners can support it anywhere regardless of geography.

Channel partners have embraced Strongarm because it can be implemented by making a single change to a customer's network infrastructure, Silberman said, and doesn't require any installation of software or the need to go on-site. Strongarm typically takes just five minutes to set up, he said, and has been deployed in some instances in as little as two minutes.

"The product is as we advertise," Silberman said. "There's not a lot of hype and misleading information here."

Strongarm allows channel partners to white block the "block page" end users might hit during their browsing to reflect the identity of the MSP rather than the vendor, Silberman said.

Strongarm also has figured out how to mitigate some of the most common shortcomings of domain name system (DNS) resolvers, Silberman said: a slower system response time, and the triggering of false alerts.

There are no latency or performance-related issues associated with Strongarm, Silberman said. Plus, Strongarm is able to triage alerts using its algorithms, meaning that the only alerts brought to the user's attention are worth their time and contain virtually no false positives. brought Strongarm into its security space a fill a gap around DNS, according to David Dadian, CEO of the Midland Park, N.J.-based company. Dadian said Strongarm has worked with to develop a report that provides end users with visibility and transparency into what the DNS offering is doing for them each and every month.

"It has been a very, very wonderful relationship," Dadian said. "Kind of like a jigsaw puzzle, it was the piece that fit into our technology stack."

Dadian is pleased by Strongarm's plan to assertively grow its use of the channel. Given the vetting process was put through before becoming a Strongarm partner, Dadian said he's confident that Strongarm will continue to be savvy and avoid oversaturation.

"I'm a firm believer in the strength of the channel,"'s Dadian said. "It's a good move for Strongarm to embrace the channel and build it out."

Fortify 24X7 also relies on Strongarm to provide DNS protection as part of a low-cost malware identification and prevention solution, according to Jeremy Murtishaw, chief technology officer of the Point Roberts, Wash.-based company.

"Because of the relationships and pricing structure, we're able to offer enterprise-grade solutions to small and medium businesses," Murtishaw said. "This was another arrow in our quiver, and allowed us to provide the SMB with something that would potentially be more expensive or invasive."

Murtishaw is pleased to see that Strongarm is working to clearly define its requirements and responsibilities to help make it more clear to partners what they can expect.

"A formalized program makes a vendor more powerful for the channel," Murtishaw said. "Commitment to growth is something I value."