Cybersecurity Channel Moves: Q2 2023
We’re taking a look at the security vendors that’ve unveiled major partner program updates or named new channel chiefs in the second quarter of 2023.
Opportunities For Partnering
In the cybersecurity industry, numerous vendors both large and small — and those somewhere in between — are doubling down on their investments in the channel. Security vendors that’ve unveiled major partner program updates or named new channel chiefs in the second quarter of 2023 include well-established vendors such as Fortinet, Akamai and Mimecast ; up-and-coming, venture-backed players such as Orca Security and Aqua Security; and even new-to-the-scene startups such as Zilla Security.
Executives from these cybersecurity companies told CRN that it’s an ideal time to invest in the channel because the opportunities around security continue to surge, even in spite of the current economic upheaval. Intensifying cyber threats such as data theft and ransomware, along with increasing regulations and cyber insurance requirements, are just a few of the factors that suggest the strong demand for cybersecurity products and services will continue, regardless of the economic environment.
What follows are the details on cybersecurity companies that’ve unveiled major partner program updates or named new channel chiefs in Q2 of 2023. CRN will update this list as announcements come out during the quarter.
On April 4, Fortinet announced a number of enhancements to its Fortinet Engage Partner program, which was initially introduced in 2020. Among the updates is an expansion of the program with two additional service designations. The first new designation, Engage Preferred Services Partner, is for partners that offer professional services via a “programmatic approach,” Fortinet said in a news release. The designation aligns to the vendor’s Security Fabric pillars of cloud, zero trust access, SecOps, secure access service edge (SASE) and operational technology. The second designation, Expert Technical Support Partner, is for “expert-level” partners and aims to assist solution providers with upskilling their support engineers for improved customer support. The designation offers enhanced access to the company’s services and support teams, as well, according to Fortinet.
Other updates disclosed for the company’s partner program include the debut of new designations for Fortinet’s flagship certification program, the Network Security Expert Certification program. The changes bring a greater focus on targeted training for roles that are in high demand, including cloud security professionals and security operations analysts, Fortinet said. The new designations are Fortinet Certified Fundamentals; Fortinet Certified Associate; Fortinet Certified Professional; Fortinet Certified Engineer; and Fortinet Certified Expert.
Additionally, Fortinet announced plans to provide a new configuration tool, Intangi, later in 2023. The platform will enable partners to “efficiently communicate product and pricing data,” the company said.
Email security vendor Mimecast disclosed it has named tech industry veteran Stan de Boisset as its new channel chief. Boisset (pictured), whose title is senior vice president of global partner ecosystems and channels, fills the role vacated in December by Jonathan Corini. According to CRN UK, Boisset will focus on implementing Mimecast’s “partner-first,” channel program as well as managing initiatives with service providers and implementing Mimecast’s technical “partner champions” program.
Boisset joins Mimecast from identity verification vendor Jumio, where he was responsible for building and leading its global partner organization as global vice president of partner ecosystems, CRN UK reported. Prior to Jumio, he spent four years as vice president for the Americas partner ecosystem at Tableau. Earlier, Boisset spent more than 13 years at Juniper Networks, ultimately as its global senior director for commercial sales and inside sales.
Cloud-native security provider Aqua Security unveiled several updates to its Aqua Advantage partner program on April 3, as well as details about the traction for the program since it debuted in July 2022. The company, which offers a cloud native application protection platform (CNAPP), said that channel-driven revenue has doubled from a year ago, and now accounts for 65 percent of Aqua’s total revenue. In a news release, Jeannette Lee Heung (pictured), senior director for global channel and alliances at Aqua Security, pointed to the program’s “streamlined onboarding, deal registration and training” as some of the key drivers of the momentum with partners.
The latest updates to the Aqua Advantage program include that the company has increased its support services training, Aqua said in the release, while also launching two additional certification programs. The new certification programs are Aqua Sales Certification and Aqua Certified Sales Engineer, and looking ahead, the company said it plans to further expand its program in an effort to enhance its support for managed service provider partners.
Sonatype, a major player in securing software supply chains and the use of open source code in the enterprise, is now looking to work with partners in a bigger way with the debut of its first formal channel program, the company’s CEO and channel chief told CRN. Announced April 3, Sonatype’s new Partner Acceleration Program aims to standardize the vendor’s engagements with partners such as resellers and system integrators, and serve as a foundation to build on for working with more managed service providers in the future.
Founded in 2008, Sonatype has been working with enterprise-focused partners for years and derives 50 percent of its revenue through the channel, according to Bruce Gordon, senior vice president of global channel sales and alliances at Sonatype. With the launch of the new partner program, one goal is to increase that percentage. Key elements of the program include improved discounts for partner-sourced opportunities, based upon partner tier. “We want to invest more and incentivize more to our partners that are willing to invest with us,” Gordon said.
The White House’s push for SBOMs (software bills of materials), which list out the components of a piece of software, is one dynamic that has been drumming up demand for the types of offerings that Sonatype provides, CEO Wayne Jackson (pictured) said. On the SBOM front, “the partners are perfectly positioned to help,” Jackson said. “Oftentimes, the partners know the businesses way better than we do. We’re a technology provider and an information provider, but we’re not usually in a position to help organizations reshape their businesses around new trends.”
Zilla Security, a startup offering a platform for cloud identity security, announced its first channel partner program on April 4. Garrett Long (pictured), vice president of business development for Zilla, said in a news release that the company is aiming to team up with additional channel partners around bringing its identity security and compliance tools to enterprise customers. Partners disclosed by Zilla include Optiv, GuidePoint Security, Anomalix and Legion Star.
The Zilla Security partner program targets resellers and managed service providers, with the ultimate aim of delivering greater automation for identity security and compliance through capabilities such as access reviews, access risk remediation and continuous change tracking, the company said. In August 2022, Zilla raised a $13.5 million Series A funding round led by Tola Capital and FirstMark Capital.
Cloud security vendor Orca Security announced April 10 it has appointed cybersecurity industry veteran James Love (pictured) as its new channel chief. Love, whose title is president of field operations, is responsible for all of Orca’s global sales and customer success activities, including its channel teams. Orca Security plans to “implement a 100 percent channel-led go-to-market strategy” with Love heading its sales, the company said in a news release.
Love has joined Orca Security from cybersecurity vendor Illumio, where he’d been chief revenue officer for the past three years. Prior to Illumio, Love had served as president and chief revenue officer at Arxan Technologies from 2016 to 2020, while before that he spent three years at Imperva as its North America vice president of sales. In the news release, Love said that he is “committed to building and enabling a thriving partner ecosystem” at Orca Security.
Orca’s agentless SideScanning technology collects data from workloads in cloud environments and performs “a full risk analysis with zero performance impact on the workloads themselves,” the company says. The company, which was founded in 2019, raised a $550 million Series C funding round in 2021, which brought with it a valuation of $1.8 billion.
On April 12, Akamai Technologies announced a number of enhancements to its partner program, all of which apply to the company’s cybersecurity portfolio of products. The company — whose security offerings include API protection, web application firewall, DDoS protection and secure web gateway — disclosed that updates to the Akamai Partner Program include new pricing discounts as well as a “streamlined” experience for partner onboarding and deal management. Partners will also now receive “direct access” to Akamai experts and details on forthcoming products prior to their release, the company said in a news release.
In terms of the financial incentives, the additional pricing discounts will be offered upfront for new deals, Akamai said, aligning the rewards with the goals of the vendor’s field sales teams. Looking ahead, additional enhancements will include updates to the Akamai partner portal that will simplify registration and management of new customer opportunities, along with improved transparency around key metrics for partners and updates to partner content, the company said.
SailPoint, a widely used provider of identity security tools, announced April 19 it has overhauled its channel program with an eye toward helping partners capture the fast-growing services opportunities in the space. The launch of the new SailPoint Partner Fleet program marks the largest revamp of the vendor’s channel program since it debuted in 2015, the company said.
Major updates with the introduction of the SailPoint Partner Fleet program includes the integration of the company’s prior delivery partner and reseller partner offerings.
David Schwartz (pictured), global head of partners at SailPoint, told CRN that a core theme of the new program is around doing more to enable channel partners on services related to the company’s identity security products. The new program will include greater recognition and rewards for delivery services partners, including “making sure that we’re able to bring the top certified partners into more and more opportunities,” he said.
Additionally, partners that are seeking to earn the “delivery admiral” badge with SailPoint will now be able to do so on a quarterly basis, rather than an annual basis as in the past, Schwartz said. SailPoint also plans to launch a new badge for managed services partners midway through this year, he said.
Forcepoint announced April 18 it has launched an MSSP program for its Forcepoint ONE SSE (security service edge) platform. The new program is focused on enabling delivery of managed services around the “data-first” SSE platform, the company said in a news release.
The program provides MSSPs with simplified billing and updating of customer configurations via the management portal, Forcepoint said in a news release. Other benefits of the program include training and enablement, access to dedicated channel managers and the support for driving high-margin services, the company said.
Software security vendor Veracode announced a new channel-focused growth strategy on April 27, which includes a commitment that all sales to new customers in North America will go through authorized channel partners. The move aims to convey that “partners are a strategic part of our growth story,” Veracode CEO Sam King (pictured) told CRN. “This is a very strong action from our perspective.”
Veracode’s new “Land with Channel” strategy, which is effective immediately, will build on the foundation of the company’s Velocity Partner Program that was introduced in August 2022, executives said. Andre Cuenin, chief revenue officer at Veracode, told CRN that doubling down on the channel in this way sends “a strong message to our channel partners.”
Amid growing concerns over vulnerabilities and software supply chain attacks, working with Veracode to secure the attack surface around applications “is a great opportunity for partners to differentiate themselves,” Cuenin said.
With its channel-centric growth initiative, Veracode is focusing on partners who have programs and can offer value-added services around software security, he noted. “It’s a complex problem to solve, and partners need domain knowledge.”
A channel strategy can be a force multiplier if done correctly, but making a firm commitment to partners is “essential” to make that happen, Cuenin said. “Our focus on the channel is a clear signal of its strategic importance for us. We believe it will drive additional commitment from all sides and help propel our growth.”
Bot protection startup DataDome announced May 10 that it has hired a new director of channel sales, Teague Dufresne (pictured). Dufresne was most recently a channel account manager at cloud security startup Ermetic, and before that worked at companies including Liferay, Flashpoint and TD Synnex. In a news release, Dufresne said she plans to expand DataDome’s partner program to better take advantage of the “integral role” partners play in bringing solutions to customers. The hire follows DataDome’s announcement in late March that it had closed a $42 million Series C round of funding, led by InfraVia Growth.
Darktrace announced May 16 it has appointed tech industry veteran Dan Monahan (pictured) as its new channel chief. Monahan, who has been named senior vice president of the company’s global partner organization, is responsible for overseeing Darktrace’s channel sales and its work with strategic partners, as well as technology alliance relationships. The AI-focused cybersecurity vendor disclosed that it has 500 channel partners in total including VARs, global systems integrators, MSSPs and distributors.
Monahan has joined Darktrace from Cohesity, where he’d been vice president of Americas channel sales for the past two years. Prior to Cohesity, Monahan had spent seven years at VMware, finishing his time there as head of national solution providers and distributors.
In a news release, Darktrace said that focus areas for Monahan will include “evolving” the vendor’s partner program, as well as targeting growth with new partners. Monahan said in the release that he aims to “accelerate Darktrace’s channel growth,” and sees “a significant opportunity ahead to harness the power of the channel to bring Darktrace’s unique self-learning AI to more businesses.”
On May 18, ThreatModeler, which offers tools for automated modeling of cyber threats to DevOps and DevSecOps teams, unveiled its new ThreatNet Partner Program. The program aims to enable reseller and distributor partners to generate new business through helping software development teams with visualizing their attack surfaces and proactively mitigating security issues. The ThreatNet Partner Program brings a focus on generating recurring revenue opportunities to partners, and ultimately “rewards partners for their capabilities, growth and commitment,” said Erika Trenkle (pictured), director of strategic alliances at ThreatModeler, in a news release.
Components and benefits of the partner program include deal registration, sales support, marketing support, training and certification — as well as a partner portal that features product info, marketing content and sales tools, according to the company.
Digital identity provider ForgeRock announced a revamped channel program May 22 as the company looks to expand its work with system integrators and other partners. In an interview with CRN, ForgeRock CEO Fran Rosch (pictured) said the new program represents “an increased focus on our partners” by the company, and follows ForgeRock’s hire of channel veteran Chris Westfall as its vice president of global partner strategy, programs and operations in November.
The new ForgeRock Partner Program brings a more-formal structure through the introduction of a three-tier system, in place of the company’s previous tier-less approach. The addition of tiers is part of a recognition by the company that large global partners and regional players require different levels of support, according to Rosch.
Other major enhancements include more-frequent roadmap reviews with partners, a higher level of investment into partner sales enablement and an easier way for partners to access demo environments, he said. The new program will also include increased incentives in areas such as market development funds (MDF), training, professional services and access to technical consultants.
Imperva launched a revamped channel program on June 7 that the cybersecurity vendor said will transcend the typical uniform approach for working with partners. The new Imperva Accelerate Partner Program features three tiers for partners — Select, Advanced and Premier — and takes the place of Imperva’s prior metal-based channel program. With the new program, partners can select from among four go-to-market models to pursue with Imperva: fulfillment, creating demand, driving sales and delivering services, according to Micheal McCollough (pictured), global vice president of strategic growth and channel at Imperva.
“What we built is a program that lets the partner choose [what] they want to focus on,” McCollough told CRN. That added flexibility “is the biggest change we have [for partners],” he said. “Before, it was one-size-fits-all.”
The new Imperva channel program also makes it very clear how investments that the partner makes will impact the profitability that is generated, according to McCollough. “We want to give partners a level of confidence that you’re going to get the yield you expect on the investment you make,” he said.
Dragos announced a new channel program June 13 that seeks to scale up the industrial cybersecurity vendor’s work with partners, ultimately helping resellers and service providers to better meet the growing demand for operational technology (OT) security. The company has overhauled numerous elements of the channel program with a particular focus on making skills training and other resources available through its self-service portal, as a way to help more partners gain expertise and proficiency with the Dragos platform, said Jon Pringle (pictured), vice president of U.S. channel at Dragos.
With the updated portal, for instance, partners will be able to access hands-on training and product documentation that in the past has often been delivered to partners directly by Dragos personnel, Pringle said.
In addition to training and documentation resources, the new Dragos partner program includes deal registration, marketing assets such as co-branding materials and sales and marketing support. Financial benefits include volume discounts, increased margin for partners that identify customer opportunities and market development funds (MDF), which includes proposal-based MDF opportunities.
Blancco — which offers secure data erasure software for laptops, mobile devices, data center hardware and other devices — on June 14 announced an update to its channel program that aims to simplify the partner experience and accelerate growth with partners. The new program ultimately aims to lay the groundwork for the company to drive more than 70 percent of its enterprise deals through partners while doubling its enterprise revenue by 2025, according to Blancco.
The Blancco program adds new benefits such as deal registration for all partner types, as well as structured discounts and a new rewards program. Blancco said its refreshed program also moves to a single-tier structure with four areas for partners to focus: sell, service, build and distribute. The goal is to offer a “quicker onramp for companies across the channel partner ecosystem,” Blancco said in a news release. With the new program, the company is “strengthening our channel program and focusing on providing a simplified experience” to help partners drive more growth in their businesses, said Christina Walker (pictured), global director for channel at Blancco, in the release. The company said it also plans to increase its channel investment by 200 percent in team resourcing, marketing and product development.
Torq, a startup whose technology offers a no-code method for automating security operations, announced a channel program on June 15 that the company said offers the “highest guaranteed-margin opportunities possible.” The Torq Partner Acceleration Program guarantees MSP/MSSP partners margin of 25 percent, the company said in a news release.
The program also aims to stand out through offering greater transparency and simplicity to partners, Torq said. In many cases with other vendors, partners “have been stuck in complicated, antiquated programs,” said Josh Morris (pictured), senior vice president of global sales at Torq, in a news release. Instead, the startup is looking to give partners “exactly what they’re asking for: high, guaranteed margins, comprehensive co-selling opportunities, total deal support, and we spell it all out crystal clear in our contracts,” said Sheldon Muir, head of global channels at Torq, in the release.
The three available tiers for the program are MSP/MSSP Full Lifecycle Management; Reseller; and Post-Sales and Professional Services Support. Partner opportunities are tied to the investments they make around positioning, implementing and operationalizing the Torq Hyperautomation Platform, the company said.
Endpoint security vendor Malwarebytes on June 20 announced the debut of a new program for resellers that offers improved incentives. Among the enhanced incentives are “lucrative” base and multi-year discounts, the company said in a news release.
The Malwarebytes Reseller Partner Program brings three tiers — Silver, Gold and Platinum — with benefits that include margin discounts, deal registration, lead sharing, market development funds and NFR (not for resale) licenses, the company said. The program also aims to help enable partners to target certain industries with “specialized bundled solutions to fulfill vertical needs,” Malwarebytes said in the release.