RSA To Update Channel Program To Reward Partners That Bring On Net-New Customers

RSA plans to enhance its channel program in early 2018 to reward partners that attract net-new customers.

The Bedford, Mass.-based security vendor said that partners should receive more generous incentives to help RSA further penetrate the marketplace, according to Faraz Siraj, director of Americas channels. The initiative won't come at the expense of partners that support existing and expansion accounts: They will continue to receive competitive margins, rebates, co-op, and marketing dollars, Siraj said.

"It's going to give partners the ability to hunt and produce net-new logos for RSA and be rewarded for it," Siraj told CRN.

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RSA told the channel in August that changes will the coming to the company's SecurWorld partner program, Siraj said, with a formal announcement expected in January. One of the most noticeable changes will be the renaming of the tiers in the company's partner program to align with the precious metals nomenclature (titanium, platinum and gold) favored by Dell EMC, according to Siraj.

Siraj said there will be a slight adjustment in the thresholds associated with each tier, although no major changes are expected from a re-leveling perspective. Tier assignments today are based on partner revenue and education, Siraj said, with RSA looking closely at the amount of annual sales being brought in by a partner as well as the levels of certification they've achieved.

"We don't want to have anybody left out in the cold," Siraj said. "We want to make sure that everybody is taken care of."

All told, Siraj expects the changes will make supporting RSA more financially profitable for partners.

"We want to be able to penetrate the marketplace as best we can," Siraj said. "If we have more incentives available to partners that are finding us new business opportunities in any of our product lines, they should be financially rewarded."

RSA does roughly 70 percent of its business in the Americas, with the company's direct operations comprised primarily of high-revenue, global customers as well as accounts that have traditionally been supported under a direct model. The company has 3,000 channel partners in North America, which Siraj said span the gamut from 50-employee companies to billion-dollar organizations.

RSA's offerings includes RSA Archer for governance, risk and compliance. Archer assigns real-time threats a risk score of between one and five based on what they mean in the context of a particular business, according to Andrew Homer, RSA's director of business development. The company's product line also includes RSA NetWitness for security incident event management and threat detection and response; RSA SecurID for identity and access management; and RSA Fraud & Risk Intelligence.

Although Archer is the company's fastest-growing offering, Siraj said less than 20 percent of RSA partners are reselling the product today. Siraj anticipates that RSA will add financial incentives to get more channel partners reselling Archer.

Solution providers looking to prosper with Archer need to have a much deeper understanding of what exactly their customers need from a security and growth standpoint, Siraj said. It often takes partners a while to figure out what governance, risk and compliance is, how to best represent it, and what strengths it can bring to an organization, according to Siraj.

For partners that can master the technology, though, Siraj said Archer offers both an annuity stream as well as a robust opportunity for add-on services. The channel can make roughly as much money from ancillary services as the Archer product sale itself. Siraj said these services are often oriented around installation and customization.

Demand for Archer is strongest in verticals with major compliance requirements such as healthcare, financial services, oil and gas, retail, and the U.S. government, according to Siraj.

Cadre Information Security began reselling Archer in mid-2017 and has found the product gives the company access to different parts of the client organization that it hadn't really broached before, according to Steven Snider, executive vice president of the Cincinnati-based solution provider.

When reselling RSA's identity access management offering, Snider said Cadre typically dealt with technical and security management employees focused more on implementation than strategic direction. But carrying Archer has brought Cadre into the customer's C-suite, where the company can flex its technical and consulting muscles and have more detailed discussions around strategic areas of focus.

"We're extremely pleased with the growth we're seeing and the number of opportunities around Archer," Snider said.

Cadre has seen a preview of the direction RSA plans to take its channel program, and Snider said he's pleased with what he's heard.

"All of us kind of live for net new opportunities," he said.