RSA Show Is Channel Proving Ground

Security companies such as Voltage Security, IronPort, and VeriSign all launched new channel initiatives on the show's opening day, and additional channel opportunities were expected later in the week.

"There's no better place to attract the attention of security solution providers than at a show like RSA," said Scott Edington, vice president of marketing for Palo Alto, Calif.-based Voltage. "We figured the time and place were perfect to make a splash."

Voltage made that splash on Monday when it formally announced its Voltage Select Partner Program, a global channel program that includes sales training, technical training, joint account planning and sales support. The effort launched with ten channel partners, all of whom will sell encrypted email solutions based upon the vendor's unique Identity-Based Encryption technology.

Tracey Harron, general manager at Ainsworth, a solution provider in Toronto, said the technology is perfect for enterprises that need to comply with federal regulations concerning the secure delivery of information.

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"Our customers can receive, decrypt and respond to encrypted messages all without having to do any download or plug-in to their machine and desktop," she said. "This is exactly what our customers need."

Channel growth efforts also were top news for fellow email security vendor IronPort, which unveiled the expansion of its worldwide channel program Monday at RSA as well. The new program, dubbed the Channel Partner Program, is a three-tiered program with deal registration that is designed to help solution providers serving smaller markets deliver the product to their customers at a reasonable price point.

Previously, IronPort only targeted high-end enterprise customers with a variety of messaging gateway appliances.

Jim Hyman, director of channel marketing, said the expanded program is a push to gain greater market share among small- and medium-sized businesses. To that end, the San Bruno, Calif.-based vendor launched a formal certification and training program, as well as a program designed to net partners additional market development funds, depending volume.

"The goal is not to have this available through [hundreds] of partners in every market, but instead to hit the third-tier markets and where we're seeing dramatic growth," said Hyman. "Our strategy is calculated growth."

Finally, VeriSign on Monday announced a new channel effort for solution providers who plan to sell its new VeriSign Unified Authentication solution—a combination of One-Time Password (OTP) authentication tokens and software specifically designed to compete with vendors such as RSA Security.

The new channel, not surprisingly called the VeriSign Unified Authentication Channel Program, includes special rebates of nearly 30 percent for solution providers who can convince customers to switch from the RSA SecurID solution to the new VeriSign offering. Pricing for the VeriSign token solution starts at $29 per user per year.

Tony DiSpirito, director of channel sales at the San Francisco-based firm, said the partner program and price points are part of an aggressive campaign to win some of the authentication market.

"We're trying to bring authentication to the masses," he said. "We feel the best way to do that is through the channel."