Proofpoint Launches Revamped Partner Program Amid Data Security Push

The company has simplified its program for channel partners as it looks to drive awareness about its offerings beyond email security, such as information protection and compliance.


Proofpoint Channel Chief Joe Sykora

Proofpoint unveiled a new channel program Wednesday that aims to offer a simplified structure to partners along with enhanced incentives and training, as the company looks to work with more solution providers on areas beyond its widely used email security offering.

Additional key areas where Proofpoint is looking to drive increased awareness among partners and customers include information protection — with data security solutions such as data loss prevention (DLP) and cloud access security broker (CASB) — and compliance solutions including archiving and e-discovery.

[Related: New Proofpoint CEO Ashan Willy Pushes Information Protection]

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“When I talk to partners across the world, the first thing they say is, ‘Email protection — you’re the best,’” said Joe Sykora, senior vice president for global channel and partner sales at Proofpoint. “That’s great — but we do so much more.”

For instance, many don’t realize that Proofpoint is also among the world’s largest providers of integrated information protection, which includes DLP, he told CRN. To help accelerate its work with partners in that area, Proofpoint last year introduced an Information Protection specialization as part of its channel program. And now, Proofpoint is revamping the overall structure of its program to make it easier for resellers and other partners to work with the company, Sykora said.

The new program, Proofpoint Element, switches to a two-tier structure from the prior metal-based program structure. The two tiers are “Core” for partners that can meet minimum program requirements, and “Elite” for partners that are willing to make a larger investment in training and meet higher revenue goals.

Partners that qualify for the Elite tier will receive higher discounts and marketing funds as well as a dedicated channel account manager, Proofpoint said. Within the Elite tier, partners can also achieve two specializations — Information Protection and Security Awareness Training.

“We want to make it simple for people to understand this is more than just a revenue goal-type program. And there’s a lot that they have to do around training, labs,” Sykora said. “Of course, we do like to look at revenues as well, but that’s not the only metric. And that’s what partners want.”

Other updates to the Proofpoint channel program include expanded and refreshed training through the company’s partner portal, as well as new opportunities for hands-on training through planned road show stops in U.S. cities.

Additional benefits include dedicated marketing support, access to labs and support for partners that are looking to build managed services around Proofpoint’s offerings, Sykora said.

A ‘Purposeful Approach’

Proofpoint’s updates to its channel program are highly welcome, according to Janel Schalk, practice director of security enablement and sales at Trace3, No. 36 on CRN’s 2022 Solution Provider 500.

In particular, she pointed to the new program’s discount structure, additional labs access and the refreshed partner portal — which makes it easy to understand “the nuances of our partner status.”

Schalk joined Proofpoint’s partner advisory board late near the end of 2022, and said it’s clear that the latest updates to the partner program have taken into account “all of that feedback that we as channel partners have been providing.”

“I’m seeing that follow-through,” she told CRN. “I really like the purposeful approach that Proofpoint is taking.”

Ultimately, working with “a channel-friendly vendor like Proofpoint is great — it drives business and it makes the product more competitive, because they’re constantly getting that feedback from their partners,” Schalk said.

Building Out The Platform

Proofpoint, which went private in August 2021 through its $12.3 billion acquisition by Thoma Bravo, has also continued to expand its offerings including with the acquisition of identity threat detection provider Illusive in December.

That has added a key missing piece to the company’s information protection platform by bringing in “the identity piece in the middle of the attack chain,” Sykora said. “Integrating that into our total solution really rounds out the total package.”

With all of the company’s offerings, he said, a growing number of partners are now “building complete practices around us.”

“When I talk to some of the largest partners on the planet today, we’re in their top four or top five. Sometimes we’re one or two,” Sykora said.

“Historically, our heritage is definitely around email protection. We do have a pretty large install base of email protection, and a lot of partners to do that,” he said. “But what we’ve seen is a lot of cross-selling and upselling. Typically, when it’s time for them to do their check-ins and the health checks that we do, we can talk about, ’Did you know we have security awareness training? Did you know we have information protection?’”