CRN Exclusive: Security Startup IntSights Launches First Partner Program, Looks To Take All Sales Through The Channel

IntSights has launched its first official partner program, a move that comes as the threat intelligence company looks to move to a 100 percent channel model under new channel chief Jessica Couto (pictured).

IntSights, based in Israel, offers a platform for cybersecurity intelligence, including tools for customers to gain intelligence on cyberthreats, consolidate threat feeds, recommend steps to prevent cyberattacks, and provide customized analysis on threats to a specific business or executive.

The company didn't previously have an official partner program but did already work with some of the largest partners in the market, including Optiv and Wipro. IntSights is relatively new to the U.S. market, only opening its headquarters in the region last November.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: Security Startup IntSights Names Long-Time Partner Exec Couto As Global Channel Chief]

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The new program is flat in structure, with contract options for resellers, MSSPs, and a referral program. The company will also offer one-time reseller agreements so partners can test the waters with the security vendor before signing onto the full program. Couto said her mantra for the program is to make IntSights easy to work with for partners, with standardized contracts for partners, scalability, and formal rules of engagement for the salesforce.

Couto said the focus of the program is on gross profit, rather than discounts for partners. She said IntSights would reward partners with significant gross profit on deals (more than 20 percent) rather than focus on discounting. She said IntSights would also offer deal registration and protection, including around renewal incumbency.

Tera Davis, managing director at Plano, Texas-based Critical Start, said the highlight of the new program is its simplicity, particularly on how partners get paid for working with the vendor. She said the focus on gross margin rewards, versus a flat discount, is a big benefit for partners because it aligns with how the channel runs their businesses. She said deal registration in the new program is also key, as it rewards partners who bring business to IntSights as well as prevents competition in the field that might hurt margins.

"It's nice to have the partner program built on gross profit because that's how you run your business, not on the top line," Davis said. Davis said Critical Start was an early adopter of the IntSights technology and partner program.

The current program is for the Americas, but Couto said IntSights is working on an international program that is expected in January 2018.

The launch comes shortly after Couto joins IntSights from Hexadite, where she was vice president of channels and alliances. Couto, now vice president of worldwide channels and alliances at IntSights, has a history of developing successful channel programs in the security market, including at Hexadite (acquired by Microsoft), Carbonite, and Bit9 (acquired by Carbon Black). Couto said the new program, and her appointment, are part of a push by the company to move to a 100 percent channel model. Couto said that push extends all the way up to CEO Guy Nizan, CTO Gal Ben David, and CPO Alon Arvatz.

"[They are] serious about working with the channel and being 100 percent channel focused. That commitment so early in the game shows they know the route to market is through the channel," Couto said. She said IntSight had had a directive since January to move all sales through the channel, with all new deals already coming through partners and work underway to move existing direct deals through the channel.

Critical Start's Davis said Couto's experience had been a "fantastic" addition to the IntSights team.

"She has great experience in the industry across the board and does a fantastic job with channels and knows how to structure a program," Davis said.

Davis said the commitment to working with the channel from IntSights executives is visible to partners. She said that "makes a big difference" for companies like Critical Start and drives a different type of engagement with the company's sales reps.

Couto said IntSights is prepping for another year of growth, saying it is just about to hit the "hockey stick" point of the growth curve in the U.S. She said the startup would look to selectively recruit partners in the U.S. where it makes sense and has already hired channel account managers in the east and west regions to manage scalability.

"We are not slowing down," Couto said. "It will be a phenomenal year, and we have obviously had some goals for 2018. We are doing all the right things by the channel, which will make it a lot of fun."