By Ken Presti, Senior Consultant, Channel Impact
Fortinet Announces New Network Security Expert Certification Program
Fortinet, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based network security vendor, has rolled out its new Network Security Expert (NSE) technical certification. The new badge is a means of demonstrating competence on the full range of Fortinet products and related technologies.
“Partners were looking for us to expand the certifications, given the fact that we’ve had a lot of new features come out,” said Joe Sykora, vice president of Americas sales operations and channels at Fortinet. “We are using a modular approach with eight different levels that cover a variety of different elements, such as product knowledge, expertise with installation and configuration, and troubleshooting. It begins at a more basic level and then moves upwards to architectural expertise.”
Tracks include online and instructor led courses, as well as practical, experiential exercises that demonstrate mastery of the related technologies.
Participating channel partners will provide a variety of channel benefits, including enhanced escalation, public recognition of their status, and access to specific, invitation-only events.
Sykora explained that a soft launches currently underway, involving a number of key partners, as well as partner advisory council members, who are reviewing the program and providing feedback. The new NSE program is expected to replace Fortinet’s current certifications in a period of about one year.
As security continues to evolve, each vendor will be challenged to efficiently update partner training on a consistent basis. The Fortinet approach breaks down the curriculum into bite-size chunks that enable partners to take the training at their own pace, particularly among the online portions of material.
Webroot Kicks-off New Channel Program for Cloud-based Security
Webroot, a Colorado-based company that specializes in in cloud-based Internet threat detection, recently took the wraps off its new Webroot Channel Edge Reseller Program. The initiative adds market-specific tools and resources aimed at helping channel partners of all description beef up their close rates.
“The modern threat landscape is increasingly more sophisticated and complex, with new malware emerging constantly,” said David Bennett, vice president of worldwide consumer and SMB sales at Webroot.
Among the new offerings, Web Content Syndication delivers product content, trial software downloads and whitepapers directly from a partner’s website, thereby allowing customers to become more familiar with the products and effectively test drive them through a system that also ties them directly to the enabling partner. Meanwhile, the Social Syndication component enables partners to communicate with potential buyers through various social media sites.
The program also includes volume-based benefits such as qualified sales leads, speaking engagements and joint seminars, market expansion programs, sales incentives, and a dedicated channel account manager.
The new social media aspect of the program is particularly compelling, and provides a venue through which channel partners can become more familiar with using such tools as a means of outreach to prospects and key clients, alike. The development of such skills can go a long way towards cultivating social media as a sales tool for the full range of solutions offered by each respective partner.
Continuity Launches New Partner Program for High Availability and Disaster Recovery
Continuity Software, a New York-based company providing service availability risk management, announced the roll-out of its new AvailabilityGuard channel program, aimed primarily at partners providing high availability and disaster recoverability (HA/DR across physical, virtual and cloud environments.
Key program components include training and support for both sales and engineering, early access to product roadmaps, deal registration, and also demand generation & lead referral assets that include co-branded events, collateral, email campaigns, white papers, and technical documentation. The program also facilitates risk assessments through which partners can systematically analyze the relative levels of vulnerability faced by each respective client.
“The AvailabilityGuard Risk-Free Assessment in particular is a real eye opener,” said Laurent Caillié, director of Local IT 4 You, a French-based channel partner. “It can clearly demonstrate that even the most highly sophisticated IT infrastructures can have vulnerabilities that remain hidden.”
Continuity Software has already engaged a number of VARs, SIs, distributors, MSPs and consultants in various countries. The announcement of the formalized channel program is expected to provide the standardization necessary to further extend the company’s channel footprint.
Channel partners must rely on the establishment of solid vendor relationships that ensure that both parties work together effectively towards meeting the needs of end customers in successful and profitable ways. A good channel program can go a long way towards formalizing the components needed to make that happen. Once partners conduct their due diligence, it becomes easier to assess the specifics of any channel program and ascertain the level of success that such alliances can bring.