CRN Exclusive: Fluency Launches First Partner Program As It Looks To Compete In Security Automation and Orchestration Market

Fluency announced the launch of its first channel program as the security startup looks to stake a long term claim in the hotly competitive security automation, orchestration, and analytics market.

The new Fluency Channel Partner Program, announced Thursday, has two tiers: gold and silver. Partners will start at the gold level to gain the benefits the program offers around education, deal registrations, sales playbooks, and access to the company's subscription products.

Fluency, founded in 2013, looks to leverage all the data collected in security logs, bringing security analytics capabilities to bear to provide context and correlation behind events, run machine learning, and provide automation and orchestration. The company offers its service as a subscription.

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CEO Chris Jordan said in an interview with CRN that the new program is designed to "empower" partners around the technology. He said Fluency will do that through helping partners create sales playbooks, training sales people, and streamline the process for working with the security startup.

Jordan said Fluency started with a direct approach to seed the market but is now looking to put more emphasis behind its channel. He said he sees the channel as a key way for executing sales growth and supporting customers.

"We want to grow our channel and consider it a big part of our business … You have to have someone that adds value and can do integration when necessary. You still have that last mile, and if you ignore your channels, you're not doing your end customer a favor," Jordan said.

Terry Murray, president of San Antonio, Texas-based Prescriptive Data Solutions, said Fluency was one of the partners the solution provider brought on early on as it looks to focus on data solutions. While the company had been working with the vendor on a deal-by-deal basis in the past, he said the new partner program will likely help formalize the process.

"They've really built up the program," Murray said. "When we've talked with them and worked with them in the past, it wasn't very formal and that made it hard as an organization to go out and do things … For us, this allows us to have a much easier conversation."

Murray said he particularly looks forward to having more support materials as a partner, including training, sales enablement, and education. He said he expects the new partner program will also help raise awareness of the company's solution and its differentiation in the marketplace.

Fluency is looking to make a name for itself in the hotly competitive market for security orchestration and automation. The market has seen an influx of startups, such as Demisto and Phantom, which are already starting to gain a lot of attention, as well as consolidation, with recent acquisitions of Hexadite by Microsoft in 2017 and Invotas by FireEye in 2016.

Jordan said Fluency differentiates itself by filling the gaps around audit logs by going beyond security alerts to analyze data from many different data sources in real-time. He said the company's new channel push will also aid in its ability to compete, saying "when you get good channels, and that's the key, you get good referrals." He said he expects Fluency will also see a lot of growth through technology partnerships, including one with McAfee around DXL.

Jordan said the company will now look to stay focused on its core technology, adding capabilities for better system auditing and visibility into users and assets.

"It's so tempting as a smaller player to see an opportunity and say we will pivot on that opportunity," Jordan said. "We have to stay true to what we really think the value is. If you really believe in your product you really have to stick with what your product does."

Jordan said building channels will remain a "long-term project" for the company as it looks to move away from direct sales towards empowering the channel. He said that growth will focus on building support and sales mechanisms, including growing the number of sales engineerSs.