Cybersecurity Channel Moves: Q4 2023
We’re taking a look at the security vendors that’ve unveiled major partner program updates or named new channel chiefs in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Opportunities For Partnering
As 2023 closes out with its final quarter, the pace of major channel program updates by cybersecurity vendors has remained brisk. During the fourth quarter of the year, security vendors of all sizes — and across many sub-sectors of the industry — have touted new investments in partners with the unveiling of new or expanded channel programs. Meanwhile, numerous cybersecurity product companies have announced new executive hires to spearhead their growing channel partner programs during the current quarter.
Companies that unveiled major partner program updates or named new channel chiefs in Q4 included some of the industry’s biggest vendors, such as Palo Alto Networks and Check Point; privately held unicorns such as Netskope and Securonix; and even, in some cases, early-stage startups such as Sevco Security.
What follows are the details on cybersecurity companies that made major channel moves in Q4 of 2023.
Palo Alto Networks
On Oct. 2, Palo Alto Networks announced it’s rolling out major new enhancements to partner profitability and predictability as part of its drive to enable the channel to sell more products across its platform. The update to the company’s NextWave Partner Program has included the shift to a compensation model based on backend rebates. The company also introduced a more-lucrative incentive for individual partner sales representatives.
With the shift, Palo Alto Networks has moved from offering just a small number of rebates to its largest partners to providing nearly 40 different backend rebates — some of which will be available to all NextWave partners.
Two types of new rebates are being offered to NextWave solution provider and MSSP partners — “Expertise” rebates for closing or registering deals in the partner’s area of specialization or proficiency, and “Opportunity” rebates for providing additional sales or technical value.
Palo Alto Networks also introduced the new “Partner Perks” sales incentive, through which individual sales reps are eligible to earn up to $5,000 per deal, said Tom Evans (pictured), vice president of worldwide channel sales at the company. While Palo Alto Networks has previously offered one-off sales incentives to reps based around key sales pushes — such as at the end of a quarter, for instance — the Partner Perks incentive is not time-bound, according to the company. It’s the first time Palo Alto Networks has offered an ongoing sales rep incentive, Evans noted.
On Oct. 2, Infima Cybersecurity, a provider of highly automated security awareness training, announced the hire of Larry Meador (pictured) as its first-ever channel chief with the goal of driving increased engagement with MSPs. Meador joined Infima from DataStream, an MSP-focused cyber insurance broker and services firm, where he’d been channel chief since August 2022.
Founded in 2017 by CEO Joel Cahill and CTO Kevin Geier, Infima offers a “next-gen” security awareness training platform that provides dramatically simplified administration for MSPs, according to the company and partners. The Infima platform offers speedy setup and requires minimal oversight once it’s up and running, company executives and partners told CRN.
Meador will be the “perfect fit” as the first channel chief at Infima, according to Atul Bhagat, president and CEO of BASE Solutions, who’s known Meador from his time at DataStream. Meador is a seasoned channel leader with a wide network in the MSP community, Bhagat said.
On Oct. 4, Trend Micro announced a major step in its efforts to help enable the channel to deliver more services around its Vision One cybersecurity platform with the launch Wednesday of a redesigned partner program that adds new competencies, assessments and discounts for partners.
The availability of competencies from Trend Micro — including in areas such as professional and managed services — is a great move that will help partners to showcase their service capabilities to customers, said MJ DiBerardino, co-founder and CEO at Cloudnexa, a longtime Trend Micro partner.
Louise McEvoy, vice president of U.S. channels at Trend Micro, told CRN that earning competencies will also qualify partners to receive additional discounts — which are now being introduced with the channel program update. “We’re adding in more discounts. So if [partners] have a competency, if they have more people within the company that are certified, if they have new deal registrations … we’re going to recognize them and add it to their stack [of] discounts,” McEvoy (pictured) said.
In early October, former Ivanti executive Mark Stevens (pictured) joined SIEM provider Securonix as its new channel chief — with plans to make partners increasingly central to the company’s growth strategy going forward, he told CRN.
Securonix currently has “over 100” channel partners, and plans to significantly add to that number, Stevens said. Additionally, Securonix has intentions to begin working with distributors for the first time, executives said.
Stevens, whose title at Securonix is senior vice president of channels and alliances, had most recently served as Ivanti’s global senior vice president for strategic alliances and OEM.
Threat intelligence data firm Cybersixgill in October announced the debut of a new program for VAR partners with a number of benefits and resources. Those include access to the company’s Partner Portal offering training, sales enablement tools and marketing/sales collateral; deal registration; and sales incentives including spiffs, rebates and spot discounts. The Cybersixgill VAR program is “highly collaborative and we work with our partners every step of the way,” said Brandon Gaovongphet, the company’s senior director of channel sales, in a news release.
Asimily, a provider of an IoT and medical device risk management platform, announced Oct. 11 the debut of its channel partner program. The Launch program focuses on partners including resellers, global service providers and MSPs, the company said. Asimily ultimately aims to provide partners with “the scale, insights, and disruptive IoT security solution” needed to protect their customers, said Rusty Feldman, the company’s senior vice president of global sales, in a news release.
In mid-October, Kroll announced the expansion of its Cyber Partner Program with the introduction of a new specialization for MSPs. As part of the new specialization, MSPs will receive remediation advice as well as reporting and technical account manager support from Kroll, the company said.
In a news release, Kroll’s global head of channel and alliances, Keith Carter, said that the specialization “allows the MSP to add security services and, in particular, our industry-recognized MDR platform, to enhance its portfolio supporting its clients with a relatively low cost to entry.”
The expansion follows the launch of the Kroll channel program in February.
On Oct. 19, QuSecure, which offers a software-based, post-quantum cryptography platform, announced the launch of its first formal channel program and the hire of Stuart Oliver as vice president of worldwide partner go-to-market programs. The QuSecure Partner Program is focused on offering training — including pre-sales, sales and technical training — as well as providing discounts and sales/marketing benefits to partners, the company said. Previously, Oliver (pictured) had held channel team leadership positions at NetApp and Nebulon, QuSecure said.
Veteran channel chief Todd Palmer made the jump to cybersecurity vendor Illumio from Tanium, amid what he described as a massive growth opportunity for partners in zero-trust security.
Palmer (pictured) told CRN that he has joined Illumio as its senior vice president of global partner sales and alliances, filling the channel chief role that had been vacant since May.
At Illumio — recognized with a 5-star rating in CRN’s Partner Program Guide for 2023 — “everyone here is committed to growing this business through partners,” Palmer said. While the percentage of Illumio’s revenue that goes through the channel was not available, Palmer told CRN that “you’re probably going to see a dramatic shift in that” toward a higher percentage through partners.
Palmer was most recently senior vice president of global partner sales at Tanium, where he’d worked since April 2020.
Earlier in his career, Palmer was vice president of worldwide channels at Cohesity from 2017 to 2019. Before that, he served as vice president of Americas channel sales at Palo Alto Networks from 2014 to 2017.
Tanium announced Oct. 24 it has appointed Tony Beller (pictured) as senior vice president of global partner sales, who’s focused on driving “the company’s next phase of channel growth [while] expanding a robust service provider and partner ecosystem,” the company said in a news release. The provider of “converged endpoint management” aims to boost its work with partners including MSPs and global system integrators, the firm said. Beller’s career has included roles at Tibco, ServiceNow and Salesforce, most recently as a senior vice president at Cloud Software Group (comprised of Tibco and Citrix).
Radiant Logic, a provider of an “identity data fabric” platform, announced Nov. 1 it has revamped and expanded its partner program under the leadership of a newly appointed channel chief. Jeff Tishgart, who’s taken the role of vice president of global partners and alliances, previously held roles at identity security vendors including PlainID and SailPoint. The “relaunch” of the Radiant Logic channel program demonstrates a “dedication to providing an accessible, flexible and scalable Identity Data Platform” to partners, Tishgart said in a news release.
Sevco Security, which offers a cloud-native platform for cybersecurity asset attack surface management (CAASM), announced in November the debut of the new Sevco Channel Partner Program. The incentive-based program aims to “reward channel partner representatives for driving new deals and evaluations,” the startup said in a news release. Incentives include a spiff (sales performance incentive fund) program with “generous monetary incentives and significant discounts on Sevco’s SaaS-based 4D Asset Intelligence Platform for its partners,” the company said.
Netskope recently announced the appointment of Mike Hines (pictured) as its new vice president of channel sales in North America. Hines, a veteran of the enterprise software industry over his more than two-decade career, previously held positions at cybersecurity-focused vendors including Akamai, Okta and LastPass. Most recently, he was vice president for the Americas and EMEA channel at LastPass. At Netskope, Hines is reporting to Dave Rogers, senior vice president of global alliances and channel sales.
On Nov. 8, Check Point announced the major revamp of its MSSP Partner Program with a number of notable updates. Key features of the enhanced program include simplified onboarding; a consumption-based pricing model (with options that include fixed, pay-as-you-go and tiered); an improved Infinity Portal that enables faster and easier management and deployment; and free training as well as “distributor support allowing MSSPs to start selling and benefitting immediately,” the company said in a news release.
Data erasure specialist Blancco appointed Jim Elder (pictured) as its new vice president of global pathways. Elder, a channel and cybersecurity industry veteran, previously served as channel chief for the Americas partner organization at NetApp. Other prior sales leadership roles include positions at SanDisk, Hewlett-Packard, AMD, and IBM.
At Blancco, Elder will be responsible for expanding the firm’s partnerships with solution providers, system integrators and other partners.
Barracuda Networks announced the appointment of Patrick O’Donnell as senior vice president of worldwide MSP sales in November, followed by the unveiling of its new global partner program in December.
O’Donnell, a longtime sales executive who previously held positions with IBM and GE, most recently served as vice president of North America sales at Datto.
On Dec. 5, Barracuda announced the launch of its new Barracuda Partner Success Program, with “support for resell partners across multiple routes to market” including resale, managed services and marketplace, the company said in a news release. Through the new program, partners “will be recognized for their Barracuda business as a whole, regardless of the route to market, and they will be provided with benefits and resources based on their total sales contribution,” Barracuda said.
OneSpan unfurled its first formal channel program Dec. 6 with the aim of bolstering the cybersecurity vendor’s work with partners through enhanced training, marketing support and incentives, the company told CRN.
An executive at a major OneSpan partner told CRN the moves are “sending the right message” to solution providers, showing that the company is serious about ramping up its focus on channel-driven expansion.
“The fact that OneSpan is taking the time to put in place this partner program tells a lot,” said the executive, Louis-Nicolas Hamer, co-lead of the Salesforce and OneSpan Sign practices at Quebec City-based consultancy Levio.
Main components of the OneSpan Partner Network program include enhanced access to training materials, marketing resources, sales tools and technical support, the company said.
Improved incentives such as discounts and rewards will be made available to partners based on their performance and overall engagement level, OneSpan said. And as part of this push, the company said it will boost its efforts in lead-generation and joint marketing with partners.
Wallarm, which specializes in integrated application and API security, on Dec. 5 announced the shift to a “100-percent channel strategy.” The company said in a news release that the approach will focus on development of new channel relationships with partners including VARs and distributors. Clay Speckmiear, Wallarm’s head of channel, said in the release that the move will “help us improve our efficiency and avoid channel conflict.”
Alongside this shift, Wallarm unveiled its new API Attack Surface Management offering, which aims to address the increasing need for visibility into public API attack surfaces. Key capabilities in the offering include API Leak Detection, which detects leaked secrets, the company said.