Connect360 is the latest development in the July 2015 NetScout acquisition of companies from conglomerate DanaherCorp., which included Arbor Networks, Fluke Networks, Tektronix Communications and VSS Monitoring. Through Connect360, NetScout aims to merge its own channel and the acquired partner communities of Fluke, Tektronix and VSS Monitoring under one program.
NetScout acquired the Danaher companies not only to build out its company and portfolio's size but to pick up the "vast channel network" connected with those companies, said Gary Staley, vice president of worldwide channel sales at NetScout.
According to Staley, NetScout recognized if it could train, certify and enable its collective channel to cross-sell products from its portfolio, there would be an opportunity to extend its reach and penetrate new markets. "Thus came the launch of Connect360," he said.
At this point, NetScout will not bring Arbor Networks, an IT security vendor, into Connect360, because Arbor doesn't fit with the program's focus. "When you look at the classic NetScout, Fluke Network, [Tektronix and] VSS Monitoring solutions, we're traditionally on the enterprise-networks side with a pretty strong presence in the service provider space. Our focus right now is on enterprise for all of those products," he said.
After much consideration, NetScout decided to structure the Connect360 program with three reseller tiers -- Authorized, Gold and Platinum -- and a distribution tier. Financial incentives and support benefits increase with each tier, which partners can ascend by meeting NetScout's investment requirements and revenue thresholds.
"Just like anything, there are always lots of opinions on what a channel program should be, and there are lots of flavors," Staley said. "We took a little bit of a different approach: Rather than rolling out a traditional tiered program, we looked at ... the kinds of partners that we had and basically ... categorized them into areas based upon the value they were providing us."
Categorizing NetScout's partners (about 1,000 of them globally) was one of the most challenging aspects of designing the program's structure, he said. "If you weren't careful, you could have a five- or six- or seven-tiered program, and we knew that it needed to be somewhat simplified." NetScout focused on identifying partners' core strengths and the value they could potentially deliver.
Staley said a perk to the program is that it's flexible. "If you're a reseller who does an occasional transaction ... that's fine. We've got Authorized status for those types of partners," he said.
Percipient Networks introduces MSP channel
Percipient Networks plans to work with managed service providers (MSPs) as the primary channel for the company's newly launched cloud-based antimalware offering.
"We want to help small and midsize businesses protect themselves," said Todd O'Boyle, CTO at Percipient Networks. "We found that small businesses are prime targets for attackers, but they rely on MSPs to advise them on most things information technology. In order to help small businesses protect themselves, we needed to work through these trusted partners."
O'Boyle developed the technology behind Percipient Networks' core product, dubbed Strongarm, with company co-founder Stephen DiCato while at The Mitre Corp. The technology, according to the company, was developed to protect U.S. government agencies from cyberattacks. O'Boyle and DiCato founded Percipient Networks in 2014 to provide an offering for the commercial market.
O'Boyle said his company has signed a handful of MSPs thus far, most being small regional providers. He said that approach maps to the company's strategy to reach small and medium-size businesses. MSPs, he added, will be the company's main sales conduit.
"Our current plan is to focus on MSPs," O'Boyle said. "Many customers have found Strongarm via the Web and self-serve since it's a cloud-based product, but the majority of our focus will be on working with partners."
Percipient Networks said MSPs that adopt Strongarm will be able to provide additional services, including incident response, forensics and continuous monitoring. Strongarm's ease of deployment, minimization of false positives and lack of a capital investment requirement let MSPs offer managed security services quickly and without the need to hire a large security operations staff, O'Boyle said.
O'Boyle said Strongarm gathers detailed information about malware-infected machines, noting that MSPs can build "efficient intrusion detection and incident response services around" that information. Strongarm also "aids in forensic analysis of the malware and provides details about the attacker that can be used to perform threat intelligence analysis," he added.
IT channel news roundup for the week of April 11
Here's a look at the channel news highlights from the week:
- Distributor Tech Data inked a deal with ConnectWise to distribute CloudConsole, a cloud service management, monitoring and billing tool. Tech Data will offer the ConnectWise product to resellers in the U.S. through its Tech Data Cloud business unit.
- TierPoint, a cloud, colocation and managed service provider, said GlaxoSmithKline has selected its Tier III data center to house a portion of the pharmaceutical company's hardware footprint. GlaxoSmithKline, after an audit of TierPoint's systems and processes, decided to relocate its networking computing unit to TierPoint's TekPark facility in Allentown, Pa.
- Distributor Ingram Micro added Fonality's cloud data business phone systems to its portfolio. The systems are available to resellers in North America, Europe and Asia through the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace.
- Security vendor Webroot partnered with Greater Intell, a provider of software products and professional services for IT management platforms, to integrate Webroot SecureAnywhere Business Endpoint Protection with the Kaseya VSA platform.
- Cloud services enablement company BitTitan released an OneDrive extension for its Office 365 Starter Kit. The extension adds tools and resources to the starter kit, including new sales scripts for BitTitan SalesAutomation; access to Microsoft's FastTrack incentives; and white-labeled managed services offerings, such as Concierge 24/7 helpdesk and MissionControl for managing customers' Office 365 environments.
- EiQ Networks, a provider of hybrid software as a service security and continuous security intelligence services, rolled out a new partner portal. The company said the portal will provide its channel partners with documentation, marketing support and information on deal registration among other resources.
- Epson unveiled the EpsonMasters.com partner training program for authorized Epson ImageWay and Envision commercial business partners. The program features 30-plus sales and technical training courses.
- GhangorCloud, a data security and compliance software company, aims to expand its channel initiative in light of a recent strategic partnership with Huawei. The companies earlier this month said they would combine Huawei's server platforms and GhangorCloud's software to address customers' data security issues. GhangorCloud plans to leverage Huawei's server channel in North America to expand its geographic footprint, while growing its North American channel program with additional partners. Tarique Mustafa, CEO and CTO at GhangorCloud, said the company requires its channel partners to dedicate at least two systems engineers to be trained and certified on its software.
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