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CrowdStrike sets cutoff point for channel recruitment

CrowdStrike said it will keep a tight rein on its channel recruitment for the recently launched Elevate Partner Program; other IT channel news from the week.

CrowdStrike Inc., which focuses on cloud-based endpoint protection, has taken a less-is-more approach with its recently launched channel program.

The company, which last month took the wraps off its Elevate Partner Program, works with systems integrators, managed service providers (MSPs), service providers and technology partners. As it grows geographically, it plans to focus its channel recruitment efforts on a handful of partners -- no more than five -- in each region, noted Jody Len, senior director of worldwide channel sales at CrowdStrike, based in Irvine, Calif.

Jody Len, senior director of worldwide channel sales, CrowdStrikeJody Len

"We want to ensure we are not spread too thin," she said, noting that the company has less than 50 partners.

"We are not just looking to sign partners," added Upesh Patel, CrowdStrike's vice president of business and corporate development.

Patel said the company seeks to work with partners who understand the value of a cloud-based offering, and can leverage and build upon the CroudStrike platform. The company's Falcon platform provides antivirus, endpoint detection and response. The platform also includes an intelligence organization that Patel said helps customers understand who is targeting them and how they are targeting them.

As for building upon its platform, CrowdStrike provides partners with access to its APIs, which may be used to integrate other security offerings into the Falcon platform.

Upesh Patel, VP of business and corporate development at CrowdStrikeUpesh Patel

"We have exposed a whole set of Web-based APIs," Patel said. "[Partners] can ... add value by leveraging our APIs and creating new functionality for their customers."

This spring, CrowdStrike plans to announce sales and system engineer certification programs, according to a company spokeswoman. Both will be free for strategic partners. The sales certification training will be online, while the system engineer certification will be virtual and/or instructor-led. System engineer certification is a requirement for strategic partners within the program.

CrowdStrike, founded in 2011, has been working with channel partners for a while, but the new channel program formalizes that effort. Len said last year's $100 million investment, led by Google Capital, "allows us to really accelerate our investment with the channel."

Equinix expands training resources

Interconnection and data center company Equinix Inc. has added new training and certification programs to its global channel partner program.

The new programs offer sales and technical training tracks aimed at helping partners develop a joint value proposition with Equinix for enterprise customers. Technical professionals will focus on using the Equinix platform to interconnect people, locations, cloud and data. Equinix will deliver training content online and through on-site workshops for select partners.

Chris Rajiah, vice president of worldwide channel sales and alliances at Equinix, based in Redwood City, Calif., said while the company has an 18-year-old history of selling directly, it has more recently turned to the channel to increase sales in the enterprise market. "The channel is the only way you can do that," he said.

Equinix launched its global partner program in March 2015 for MSPs, network service providers, system integrators and solution providers in the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific. Partners can engage in the program as referral, reseller or platform partners. Last year, Equinix added more than 350 agents, master agents, resellers and lead-referral partners to its partner program. Seeking greater reach into the federal marketplace, the vendor recently directed its channel recruitment efforts at government-focused partners.

Channel news roundup for the week of March 14

Here's a look at the highlights from the week:

  • Ernst and Young (EY), an assurance, tax, transaction and advisory service company based in London, entered into a strategic alliance with EMC. According to the companies, the alliance will allow them to provide their mutual customers with tools and services for accelerating business transformation. The partnership's technology focus will encompass hybrid cloud enablement, data center network virtualization and segmentation, enterprise mobility management, governance risk and compliance, and cybersecurity services. This week, the two companies released a new data protection offering, called Isolated Recovery, which combines business impact analysis, resiliency services and technology capabilities from both EY firms and EMC.
  • A merger of three companies aims to provide global IT infrastructure support services. MSDI, Rockland IT Solutions and Source Support Services have combined to form Congruity, which will base its operations in Lawrenceville, Ga., Pembroke, Mass., and Fall River, Mass. The new company will implement, install, optimize and service IT offerings; provide same-day, on-site support in all 50 states and 91 countries; provide a network of more than 12,000 certified service professionals; operate a SSAE 16 Type 2-compliant data center; inventory an average of 500,000 server, data storage and networking parts; and provide on-demand visibility and control.
  • Extreme Networks introduced the Extreme Wireless specialization program to the Extreme Partner Network. The specialization program teaches wireless fundamentals and enables partners to deliver wireless technology.
  • Avnet Government Solutions added data center, storage and networking products from Cisco to its General Services Administration schedule. Avnet was recently recognized as Cisco's Americas distribution partner of the year at Cisco Partner Summit 2016.
  • Cato Networks launched the Cato PartnerCloud partner program to sell its network security as a service offerings. Cato PartnerCloud is currently seeking value-added resellers, managed security service providers and Internet service providers to join the program.
  • Networking vendor Linksys added free clustering to all its wireless access point products for small businesses -- a feature that was originally limited to the Linksys Pro Series Access Point. The firmware upgrade is available for download for all Linksys business wireless-AC access point customers.
  • Power management company Eaton released the latest version of its Intelligent Power Manager software, which includes a new pricing structure for creating recurring revenue opportunities for partners. The software also integrates with VMware's vRealize Operations Manager, and offers a power management training series to certify partners as Intelligent Power Manager consultants.
  • Through a partnership with Dubai, UAE-based security company Credence Security, Canadian security as a service vendor eSentire expanded the market reach of its advanced cybersecurity capabilities and threat protection offerings to midsize enterprises in the Middle East and sub-Saharan African regions, among other EMEA markets.
  • Security company Imperva signed a North American distribution agreement with Westcon-Comstor.
  • Ingram Micro-owned distributor Promark Technology signed an agreement with cybersecurity company UpGuard to offer its threat assessment platform to resellers and system integrators.
  • Liquid Web, a provider of Web-hosting and managed cloud services, unveiled a partner program for selling its services. The program has three engagement options: The Affiliate Program provides commissions to companies that refer clients to Liquid Web; the Reseller Program allows partners to use Liquid Web's infrastructure and technical support; and the Solution Partner Program lets companies offer dedicated Liquid Web services to their customers.
  • Nectar Services, a vendor of network monitoring and management software for unified communications technology, appointed Matt Christopher as its vice president of customer experience. In his new role, Christopher will develop Nectar's channel and sales operations, and improve the experience of the company's customers and partners.

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