Cyxtera Launches New Global Partner Program Focused On Security

Six months after its formation, Cyxtera Technologies is launching a new partner program designed to bring more cybersecurity opportunities to its data center colocation partners.

Cyxtera was created in May when private equity firms Medina Capital and BC Partners merged CenturyLink's network of 57 data centers with four cybersecurity and data analytics companies – Cryptzone, Easy Solutions, Catbird, and Brainspace – to form a new entity with a combined value of $2.8 billion.

The idea behind the merger was to bring together physical data centers and security solutions, creating what the company called at the time "one of the most advanced cybersecurity solutions in the world." Now, the company is looking to bring those capabilities to its partners with its new global channel program, Senior Vice President of Channels Tina Gravel said, in an interview with CRN.

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"I'm looking to do something that's a differentiator that I can give them," Gravel said. "What's really valuable is teaching them all about security … I think that will add more value to them than any [product] I could give them."

Cyxtera's Partner Network partner program leaves the CenturyLink channel program essentially intact, as most contracts were signed over to Cyxtera in the merger. That includes a three-tier program structure, with co-marketing opportunities and sales enablement.

What's new and exciting in the launch, Gravel said, is a new set of security technologies and security training programs targeting a variety of experience levels. The idea is to meet the demand of more colocation partners looking to get into the security market. She said security allows colocation partners to re-engage with existing clients or offer a higher-margin, differentiated offering to customers.

"I think the exciting thing about Cyxtera is the ability to take this security knowledge and products to this base of sellers that is really looking for something new to sell but doesn’t know how to yet in a lot of cases," Gravel said.

Gravel said Cyxtera is also looking to develop a "no conflict" program by aligning compensation for direct and channel sales teams. She said the company is also working hand in hand with partners around renewals to make sure partners capture renewal opportunities.

The new push leverages Gravel's own background in cloud and security. Gravel most recently served as senior vice president of global channel and strategic alliances at Cryptzone, one of the security technology companies involved in the deal. She has also served as vice president and general manager of cloud services, Americas for Dimension Data and vice president of channel sales and global programs at Terremark Verizon Enterprise Services.

Justin Charette, president of Cheyenne, Wyo.-based Western Telecom Group, a master agent partner of Cyxtera from the CenturyLink side of the business, said the new partner program appears to bring the best of the CenturyLink program. He said the new security initiatives are also "very relevant in 2017," pointing to the recent mega data breach at Equifax.

"It seems like those conversations have definitely gained more traction over the years. It's gone from gaining traction to becoming extremely relevant," Charette said.

As that demand ramps up, Charette said it is increasingly helpful for partners to get a "full breadth of solutions from one provider." He said initiatives like the security training would also "absolutely be helpful."

"All their initiatives are very well received so far," Charette said. "I think they just need to stay on the path they're headed. It's all good things."