Symantec partners have training, 'tricks' in store at conference

Symantec partners will attend sessions on selling endpoint security and Software as a Service at next week's Partner Engage conference. The company is also hinting at a few surprise announcements about its partner programs.

Symantec partners will learn how to sell endpoint security and Software as a Service (SaaS) at next week's Partner Engage conference, which will also feature speeches by key executives, seminars on regulatory compliance and emerging technologies, and networking opportunities.

Randy Cochran, Symantec's vice president of channel sales in the Americas, also said the company has "a couple of tricks up [its] sleeves" regarding announcements about new partner promotions and incentives. The conference runs from Sept. 10-12 in San Diego, and more than 300 Symantec partners have registered.

The theme of this year's conference is "Confidence in a Connected World," so one of Symantec's key areas of focus will be Symantec Endpoint Protection, Cochran said. The suite, announced in June, connects the product formerly known as Symantec AntiVirus with more advanced features, including antispyware software and network intrusion prevention.

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"This is where our partners can add tremendous value," Cochran said.

Symantec partners who have tested Endpoint Protection said the new integrated suite gives them a more complete security product to sell and makes their customers' IT environments more secure. Partner Engage will feature two breakout sessions called "How to Grow Your Business with Symantec Endpoint Security." There will also be a product demonstration.

Al Maslowski-Yerges, project and security manager for Novacoast, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based partner, said learning more about Endpoint Protection is one of the things he is most looking forward to at Partner Engage. He also hopes to share some best practices with other Symantec partners.

"We have had some very good joint sales call blitzes lately, so I plan to bring that as an action item, to see how we can replicate that effectively throughout our geographies and within product verticals," he said in an email.

Another focus will be on Symantec's Software as a Service plans. The company announced its Online Backup Service in April, the first part of a long-range plan to make all of its software available as services. Analysts have said the SaaS push could force the roles of some value-added resellers (VARs) to change, but Symantec partners said they did not feel threatened by direct SaaS sales.

Symantec's SaaS line is called Symantec Network Protection, and it will be featured in one breakout session at Partner Engage, "Partnering with Symantec Services to Drive Revenue, Profitability and Customer Satisfaction." The goal is to "create buzz" about SaaS among Symantec partners, Cochran said.

Other planned seminars include keynote speeches by chairman and CEO John W. Thompson and global channel vice president Julie Parrish, breakout sessions on compliance issues and future Symantec technologies, and a product demonstration of Veritas NetBackup. A networking event will also group partners geographically, so they can meet Symantec's regional executives and other partners in their areas.

"We've been working a lot on pulling these products together, and we're excited about sharing them with our partners," Cochran said.

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