Imperva Aims To Boost Flexibility, Predictability With New Partner Program

The cybersecurity vendor’s Accelerate Partner Program seeks to provide the ‘right incentives and rewards’ to partners based on their specific focus area with the vendor, Channel Chief Micheal McCollough told CRN.


Imperva Channel Chief Micheal McCollough

Imperva launched a revamped channel program Wednesday that the cybersecurity vendor said will transcend the typical one-size-fits-all approach for working with partners, while helping them to better capture the surging demand for security solutions.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based company unveiled the Imperva Accelerate Partner Program with a major focus on offering partners more flexibility around choosing a go-to-market strategy with the vendor, as well as on delivering improved predictability around profits.

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Accelerate 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, 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. “And we’ve made sure we have the right requirements — and the right incentives and rewards — to support those motions.”

That added flexibility “is the biggest change we have [for partners],” he said. “Before, it was one-size-fits-all.”

A longtime player in application security categories such as web application firewall and DDoS protection, Imperva has expanded into emerging segments of the market, such as API security, while also bringing a growing focus on other related categories such as data security.

Many customers are now looking to Imperva channel partners to deliver services around the vendor’s offerings, including in areas such as API security and data security that require a high degree of expertise, McCollough said.

“They’re looking for a partner to be able to evaluate their environment — to do an inventory of where the databases are, how many APIs they’re running — and to be able to implement the right technology,” he said.

Additionally, customers are seeking help from partners to help them keep up-to-date on the latest threats, according to McCollough.

The demand for solution provider assistance in these areas equates to “a huge opportunity for partners to provide services — to do an assessment, to do an audit, to implement the solution — and then to provide a managed service after the fact,” he said.

Overall, Imperva has sought to design a new channel program that “really gets partners excited and wanting to invest” in their capabilities with the vendor, McCollough said.

Partner Perspective

The improved flexibility in the new Imperva channel program is a big step forward, said Mark Mahovlich, vice president of strategy and execution at Jackson, Miss.-based ICM Cyber.

While the security solutions and services provider has been a partner of Imperva for the past 12 years, the debut of the new channel program should strengthen the relationship even further, Mahovlich told CRN.

“When you can count on your technology provider to not only have good technology, but to do things within their channel program that help support your business and reduce the friction between the two companies, it just accelerates everything,” he said.

In addition to offering enhanced flexibility, the new Imperva channel program makes it very clear how investments that the partner makes will impact the profitability that is generated, according to Mahovlich.

“They’ve done a good job of building a program that tells you what you can expect for profitability as a partner, given your investment level,” he said.

Ultimately, the Imperva program rewards partners for boosting their skillsets and capabilities around the vendor’s products, recognizing that there are more ways to deliver value than just pure resale, Mahovlich said.

Currently, “there are a few programs in the partnering community that work that way, but not many,” he said.

Imperva, which has more than 2,000 partners globally and more than 500 in North America, disclosed that it currently generates more than 90 percent of its revenue through the channel.

All in all, the predictable profitability offered by Imperva’s Accelerate program should be “quite impactful” for partners, McCollough said.

“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.