Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Sep 21

Video Data Storage: Local, Cloud or Both?

By | Managed Services News

Consider accessibility needs, geography and that data storage requirements will continue to grow.

Milestone Systems' Tim Palmquist

Tim Palmquist

Conversations about technology often boil down to one topic: data. Whether a customer is asking about 5G smartphones, artificial intelligence or fiber-optic cables, it always comes back to data. Worldwide, we produce an average of 2.5 quintillion data bytes per day, according to a Forbes estimate. This number is only projected to increase with the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). Such a staggering amount of data calls for a commensurate level of storage.

Enter data centers. These centralized locations collect, store and process large amounts of data utilizing computing and networking equipment. Most large- to enterprise-scale businesses take advantage of data centers out of necessity. Some businesses use data centers not necessarily due to their size, but rather their unique needs. For instance, companies using security cameras (in some cases, thousands of them), must store and transfer large numbers of video files. How do they do it? And how do they ensure they have adequate bandwidth?

Traditionally, video surveillance footage is recorded by video management software (VMS) connected to cameras and stored in robust, on-premises servers. Over time, as more cameras are added to the network and video resolutions increase, data storage requirements grow. These factors, combined with the need for accessibility and administration across geographies, introduce the inevitable conversation of cloud-based versus hybrid solutions to address these needs.

On-Premises Compute and Storage

For decades, local servers have been the preferred choice for video. Video data is big. It takes a lot of bandwidth to move it around, and often leads to a lot of costly storage. On-premises solutions are popular because they use local data infrastructure and traditional computing and storage solutions that most organizations’ IT departments purchase and maintain.

On-prem solutions are also convenient. Some companies maintain an on-site data room with racks of equipment that support their business operations. Local IT personnel can easily support and maintain all the equipment — including cameras and VMS — and value the control they have over their servers, storage and associated data.

However, for all their hardiness, on-prem solutions have their shortcomings. In many cases, businesses will over-invest in their compute and storage needs, rounding up their estimates to ensure they’ve procured adequate processing and storage capability. This results in some inefficiencies and overspending. This room for error, combined with on-prem solutions’ limitations related to remote access and administration, often leads customers to search for alternative ways to store video data.

Cloud-Based Solutions and Storage

In recent years, cloud-based storage solutions have become increasingly popular for several reasons.

Cloud-based solutions are stored in large data centers and have the advantage of being more secure, resilient and manageable. Data centers often boast of the advantages of cybersecurity protocols, optimized patching, updates, maintenance and a high degree of redundancy and physical plant security. These are often difficult for individual businesses to replicate in their own data room and equipment environments. If a customer is highly concerned with these factors, cloud-based storage may be the solution for them.

Additionally, with cloud-based storage, companies buy only what they need at the time. This flexibility helps a growing organization’s deployment strategy scale as needed. The ideal customers for cloud-based solutions are …

Sep 21

SaaS Alerts Allocates Big Chunk of $3 Million Financing Round to MSP Investments

By | Managed Services News

The SaaS Alerts MSP investment program is a channel first and allows partners to profit from its successful growth.

SaaS Alerts has opened a new round of funding to capitalize on its nine-month growth, and has introduced what it calls an industry-first MSP investment opportunity as part of it.

This latest round will raise up to $3 million of growth capital, designed to expand SaaS Alerts’ sales and marketing efforts. It will also further product development to incorporate many of the features requested by its MSP partners. The company has grown significantly since launching in January, and now supports more than 200 MSPs and over 60,000 end users on its platform.

Round of Funding Strategy

As with its initial funding round, SaaS Alerts seeks to secure those investors who truly understand the unique challenges and fast evolution of MSPs The company tapped the MSP software and IT services community to complete this round.

SaaS Alerts has allocated up to $500,000 of the current round specifically for MSPs who are interested in participating. 

SaaS Alerts' Jim Lippie

SaaS Alerts’ Jim Lippie

“Over the years, the MSP community has observed countless software companies being funded by both venture and private equity, and has witnessed many of those deals resulting in strong financial exits,” said Jim Lippie, CEO of SaaS Alerts. “Meanwhile, the MSPs who have given their hard-earned dollars and valuable feedback to help fuel some of those companies have received little in return for their contributions. We’d like to provide those MSPs who believe in solving for the problems and pain points experienced by the IT services community – and especially those which relate to the growing cybersecurity threat landscape – the opportunity to not only benefit from the SaaS Alerts platform itself, but to also profit from its successful growth by becoming an investor. We feel that providing MSPs the opportunity to grow the company with us and to financially benefit from that is consistent with our goal to become the most MSP-friendly software company in the ecosystem.”  

Breaking Tradition

When companies get funding, they often go traditional routes, Lippie said. For instance, they go to a venture capital firm or for corporate equity. If they’re further along, they can leverage venture debt or bank debt. They seem to never include MSPs as potential investors.

“Being in this industry for a long time, I’ve found that a lot of these industries are doing pretty well,” said Lippie. “They know what they want from their vendor community. They know what they want for their products. If they believe in something, and they have an opportunity to invest in it, we should give them that opportunity.”

Fulfilling a Dream

Lippie has wanted to provide this opportunity from the beginning, after the company got its first round of funding. 

“When I first started at SAS Alerts, we had just raised our first convertible $500,000 note. I had the thought then; when, in the future, we needed subsequent funding rounds, I wanted to bring MSPs into the mix. So, this is something I have been thinking about now for a couple years. This is something I wanted to be able to provide.”

To participate, interested parties need only demonstrate that they either own or work for an MSP. They also need to prove that they are an accredited investor. 

Founding members of Channel Angels, Gerwai Todd and Kevin Blake will co-lead the investment on behalf of SaaS Alerts. Those interested in the SaaS Alerts investment opportunity can register for an informational webinar.

Sep 21

The QBR as an MSP Security Sales Tool

By | Managed Services News

Quarterly business reviews create an excellent opportunity to evaluate your client’s security posture and recommend new solutions and services.

One common mistake MSPs make is assuming that their customers don’t want to hear from them. After all, they’re paying you to keep their IT running so they can be more productive, so, if they have a problem or a question, they’ll call, right? Not exactly. What typically happens is that when a client doesn’t see or hear from their MSP, they wonder, “Why am I paying this company a monthly fee when I rarely have problems?” Before long, the client may begin questioning the value of the relationship, and so begin the conversations about discounts or even shopping for a cheaper provider.

One of the best remedies to the scenario described above is a quarterly business review (QBR).

QBRs allow MSPs to highlight everything they’re doing behind the scenes to keep their customers’ IT running smoothly. In addition to using QBRs to provide an overview of past performance and incidents, they also create an excellent opportunity to help your clients develop strategic plans for the future.

Show Clients How Their Security Posture Compares to Their Peers

MSPs can use QBRs to explore emerging needs and business opportunities with their clients, but it’s also a good time to assess the security posture of their IT infrastructure, networks and applications.

It’s vital to come to these meetings with data—not just data related to security incidents or attacks mitigated, but also industry-wide data about the current threat landscape. Using service ticket information from your PSA (professional services automation) tool can help lay this groundwork.

Next, provide an assessment of the strength of your client’s current security framework, along with recommendations for improvements. That should include an overview of obsolete systems and hardware, as well as a high-level evaluation of potential weaknesses, such as out-of-date security software, or unsecured devices or network access points. If you don’t have visibility to specific systems, offer your client a more comprehensive security assessment to provide a complete overview of where they are with security and where they need to be. Many clients use various networks and applications deployed in an ad hoc manner without a central, guiding view of their security. MSPs can provide a way to wrangle these disparate systems into a coherent security framework.

The MSP should also provide an overview of their security offerings and show how they can create a multi-layered approach to security. This should include discussions around the following threat vectors:

  • Network
  • Email
  • Web applications and cloud-based services
  • Remote access
  • Mobile devices
  • Humans

Explain that the weakest links in any security framework are employees who may be unable to identify phishing emails and other types of attacks. Ask your customers about any security awareness training they’ve done in the past. This conversation could lead to an opportunity to promote your training services, incorporating tools such as phishing simulators to help identify employees who need additional training.

Again, make your case with data. Leverage statistics from customers who are already using your security services and tools to demonstrate how the prospective client could increase their effectiveness when it comes to identifying and stopping threats. It’s also essential to show them the actual costs incurred from a network outage or data breach, as these figures can range broadly from company to company. Click on Page 2 to continue reading…

Sep 21

Channel Futures Presents Top Veteran-Owned MSPs

By | Managed Services News

This list features the veteran-owned businesses from our MSP 501 and NextGen 101 lists, as well as all 2021 applicants.

We are proud to present our veteran-owned list, derived from the 2021 MSP 501 and NextGen 101 lists, as well as the entire applicant pool. This series of lists represent our partners who are part of underrepresented groups in the channel, such as women, people of color and veterans.

Click through the slideshow above to view our veteran-owned shops. 

Don’t forget to register for our DE&I Workshop: Step In & Step Up, coming up on Sept. 28th. Register now!

Also see:

Sep 21

‘We Leave No Partners Behind’: Nutanix’s Alvarez Talks .NEXT 2021 News

By | Managed Services News

Find out what the cloud computing company has in store for resellers and distributors.

“We have successfully become a subscription company and we haven’t left our partners behind.” That’s the word from Nutanix’s Christian Alvarez as the cloud computing company holds its .NEXT 2021 conference this week.

Nutanix, which enables hybrid clouds, has spent the past couple years shifting its resellers away from legacy sales and compensations models. It has done that with greater efficacy over the past year through Elevate. That partner program, launched last September, emphasizes expertise and capability over size, and pays on a recurring-revenue basis.

“I’m proud that we went away from a traditional tiered partner program to a 100% competency-based program,” Alvarez told Channel Futures. “I know that the mindshare we’ve built … by the trends we’ve seen in certifications … has just been outstanding.”

Nutanix's Christian Alvarez

Nutanix’s Christian Alvarez

But Alvarez isn’t done looking for ways to continue making Nutanix’s partner approach even smoother. He’s working on a new tactic he believes will motivate partners to sell more — and keep them in better touch with their customers. He calls it “disaggregating the incentive stack.”

That’s a lofty way of saying that the lifetime value of a customer matters more than the initial sale. From that perspective, Nutanix could reward partners throughout the client’s time with the company — at point of sale, at activation, at renewal, at expansion, or at another point. Whatever the cadence, the goal remains constant: “You are basically assuring that the customer is going to get the most value out of their investments,” Alvarez said. “Incentives drive behaviors.”

Overall, resellers benefit “and embrace this new subscription economy,” he added.

More Focus on Distributors

Alvarez isn’t only focused on resellers, though. This week, at .NEXT 2021, he announced the Elevate Distributor Partner Program. It’s a tiered structure for distributors.

“It’s one of the first of its kind in the industry,” Alvarez said.

In this model, the company will expect its distributors to act as aggregators. They and their resellers will recommend and build the most optimal platforms on Nutanix with products from the likes of HPE Greenlake, Lenovo, RedHat and others. The idea is that partners will sell more business outcomes, rather than products.

“Partners love that and it’s a huge trend,” Alvarez said. “It’s changing discussions.”

Nutanix also hasn’t let up on developing new capabilities for partners to offer.

Nutanix Cloud Platform Feature Upgrades

To that point, on Tuesday at .NEXT 2021, the company unveiled additional features in Nutanix Cloud Platform. For example, partners now may take advantage of AOS version 6 software for building software-defined data centers and speeding up hybrid multicloud deployments, Nutanix said. They also may deliver more specialized business continuity/disaster recovery options, including the ability to use the public cloud as a secondary site. Nutanix said the BC/DR enhancements eliminate enterprises’ specialized hardware and software, improve recovery time and reduce licensing costs. Further, Nutanix Cloud Platform soon will come with automated zero-trust security policies. Other upgrades in Nutanix Cloud Platform include simplified data management, and optimized database and big data workload performance.

IDC's Eric Sheppard

IDC’s Eric Sheppard

“The new features address many of the demands of enterprise customers looking to gain efficiency and reliability across clouds, to support their needs now and in the future,” said Eric Sheppard, research vice president for IDC’s Infrastructure Platforms and Technologies Group.

Alvarez agreed, with the channel in mind.

“We leave no partners behind,” he said. “We don’t take deals direct; we’re not taking renewals direct.”

 

 

Sep 20

BlackMatter Ransomware Group Ignores Own Rules, Attacks Iowa Grain Cooperative

By | Managed Services News

BlackMatter reportedly said it wouldn’t attack critical infrastructure.

The Russia-linked BlackMatter ransomware group attacked a grain cooperative in Iowa over the weekend and is demanding a $5.9 million ransom that could escalate to $11.8 million.

According to BleepingComputer, the BlackMatter ransomware group is demanding $5.9 million from New Cooperative not to leak stolen data and provide a decryptor. New Cooperative is a farmer’s feed and grain cooperative with more than 60 locations throughout Iowa.

BlackMatter said the ransom will increase to $11.8 million if a ransom isn’t paid in five days.

New Cooperative provided the following statement to BleepingComputer:

“New Cooperative recently identified a cybersecurity incident that is impacting some of our company’s devices and systems. Out of an abundance of caution, we have proactively taken our systems offline to contain the threat, and we can confirm it has been successfully contained. We also quickly notified law enforcement and are working closely with data security experts to investigate and remediate the situation.”

BlackMatter first surfaced in July. It reportedly claimed it wouldn’t target hospitals, critical infrastructure facilities, nonprofit companies, government, the defense industry, or the oil and gas industry.

Criminals Don’t Follow Even Their Own Rules

Quentin Rhoads-Herrera is director of professional services at CriticalStart. He said just like any other criminal organization, BlackMatter won’t even follow its own rules.

CriticalStart's Quentin Rhoads-Herrera

CriticalStart’s Quentin Rhoads-Herrera

“While they claim they do not attack critical infrastructure, they also don’t categorize New Cooperative as critical infrastructure, ensuring them they will only incur financial losses not a risk to life and limb,” he said.

New Cooperative knows BlackMatter has stolen its KeePass password manager data, Rhoads-Herrera said. Therefore, it needs to lock out accounts and create new ones with complex passwords and multifactor authentication (MFA),

“In terms of negotiations, if New Cooperative is going to look at paying for recovery, they need to make sure that the group can actually recover their data before issuing any payments,” he said. “While unlikely, they should also see if the group will disclose items such as how they got the access initially and how they got the data off the network. Finally, they should make sure they have some form of evidence that the data taken off the network is destroyed.”

Agriculture Sector Particularly Susceptible

Chris Morgan is senior cyber threat intelligence analyst at Digital Shadows.

Digital Shadows' Chris Morgan

Digital Shadows’ Chris Morgan

“Companies working in the agricultural sector are particularly susceptible to ransomware activity as the harvest and fertilization of crops is highly sensitive to external factors,” he said. “This typically involves weather changes and time of the year. However, any delays caused by a ransomware attack could result in a significant loss of productivity and in turn lead to huge amounts of crops being wasted. The attack also comes at a time where COVID-19 has resulted in a global shortages of truck drivers, which is impacting food supply chains.”

The FBI has highlighted the risk posed by ransomware groups targeting food and beverage, and agricultural sectors, Morgan said. It said ransomware groups are actively targeting the systems used by agriculture.

“The attack against New Cooperative also shows a willingness from ransomware groups to continue targeting critical national infrastructure (CNI),” he said. “In July, President Joe Biden provided Russian Premier Vladimir Putin a list of 16 sectors that were reportedly off limits for ransomware attacks, which included those involved with food production. While Putin likely does not have a direct influence on the operations conducted by ransomware groups, the dialogue between the two leaders was aimed at pressuring Russia to take a more active role in tackling ransomware activity. This, predictably, appears to have fallen on deaf ears, with BlackMatter since claiming that they did not believe New Cooperative constituted CNI.”

Biden Administration Already Targeting Ransoms

Jake Williams is co-founder and CTO of BreachQuest.

BreachQuest's Jake Williams

BreachQuest’s Jake Williams

“Given that the Biden administration is already telegraphing more oversight and regulation around paying ransoms, impacting yet another critical infrastructure target certainly won’t help the situation for threat actors,” he said. “The threat actors may view New Cooperative as an IT company, possibly owing that distinction to the SoilMap software product.”

Ironically, this distinction would be meaningless to the administration, Williams said. That’s because the IT sector is also considered critical infrastructure under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) designations.

Hank Schless is senior manager of security solutions at Lookout. He said threat actors already operate outside the bounds of the law, so why would the BlackMatter ransomware group “suddenly comply” with Biden’s statements?

Lookout's Hank Schless

Lookout’s Hank Schless

“If this is the attitude Russia-based threat actors have towards the president’s warnings, then this could be indicative of similar attacks to come,” he said. “This should serve as a wake-up call to every organization that they need to take action in order to protect themselves. The president’s statements on these types of attacks have done a fantastic job of conveying the importance of cybersecurity, but it’s on organizations to put those words into actions and shore up their defenses.”

Sep 20

Citrix for Sale? Company Names New Channel Chief Amid Speculation

By | Managed Services News

He came to Citrix as COO for sales and services last year from SAP.

Mark Palomba will become Citrix channel chief next month, replacing Bronwyn Hastings, who jumped to Google Cloud earlier this year. Chief customer officer Hector Lima announced the move Monday, amid reports that Citrix is again putting itself up for sale.

Citrix's Mark Palomba

Citrix’s Mark Palomba

Citrix is not commenting on a report last week by Bloomberg that the company is evaluating whether to sell itself. Citrix has considered its options in the past. The report also noted that Elliott Management has increased its stake in the company. Elliott Management, the large fund investor, now owns 10% of Citrix shares.

During an interview Monday with Channel Futures, Lima declined to comment on the reports.

“We can’t comment on any rumors or speculations that are out there,” he said. “But what I would say is we continue to make the right moves, both from a leadership standpoint, from an engagement standpoint, to make sure that we make our business the best line of business for our partners in the marketplace.”

Among those priorities is improving opportunities with its partners, hoping to boost revenues, after missing sales targets in recent quarters. After Hastings left Citrix for Google Cloud in May, Lima said the company decided not to replace her then; instead, the company tapped Palomba to oversee the Citrix partner organization in his role as COO for sales and services.

Lima, promoted to his role in July, said he has decided to have Palomba dedicate himself to the channel.

Citrix's Hector Lima

Citrix’s Hector Lima

“I just think we needed to give it much more focus,” Lima said. “So we decided to give him that that channel challenge and have him run that exclusively.”

Lima joined Citrix last year after five years as a managing director for SAP’s financial services market unit. Lima is also a former CEO of Critical Path, where he was previously executive VP of worldwide sales and field operations.

Improving Channel Operations

Palomba will report to Lima. In a letter to partners, Lima said Palomba has already focused on improving channel operations.

“For the past year-and-a-half under Mark’s leadership as chief operating officer, sales and services, we have been able to drive strategic sales aligned for growth and operational effectiveness and consistency, including selling with many of you, our partners, while driving excellence in operations,” Lima’s letter states. “Mark understands that Citrix partners are critical to our success, and with his decades of global sales experience, including selling with partners, he is uniquely positioned to take our partner organization to the next level.”

The naming of Palomba to lead the global Citrix channel, is one of three leadership changes Lima announced on Monday. Also, Kurt Heusner, global VP for commercial and public sector services, will lead global emerging sales. Sherif Seddik, now VP of sales and services covering EMEA, will lead commercial strategy and go-to-market.

Lima said all three leadership changes take effect Oct. 1.

 

Sep 20

Unlocking the Edge Opportunity for Channel Organizations

By | Managed Services News

Identify the edge opportunity for your business, learn the technology and seek out early adopters.

Pulsant's Rob Darby

Rob Darby

Over the last decade, we’ve seen a significant shift in the way we consume services and do business. Users expect rapid performance from digital products, whether they’re using web and cloud applications, streaming content, gaming online or using business-critical services.

At the same time, 5G adoption is increasing and driving growth in more complex and mission-critical Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, resulting in a growing number of devices, applications and volume of data. To be successful in this environment, organisations need faster access to data and seamless, high-speed connectivity, regardless of location, making latency and the flow of data increasingly critical.

Getting Started with Edge Computing

An increasing number of businesses and service providers are turning to edge computing as the answer, adopting decentralised strategies which enable data, applications and content to be processed and managed at the network edge. And with the worldwide edge computing market predicted to grow to $250.6 billion by 2024, resellers must act quickly to capitalise on the opportunity. But where should you start?

Recognise the opportunity. While edge computing isn’t yet a mainstream technology, it’s highly likely we’ll see mass adoption of edge networking in the future. Enterprises have already embraced mobile and hybrid working models because of the pandemic and will need points of presence in regional data centres that are closer to their users to ensure they have fast, low latency connections wherever they’re located.

Take steps to identify the edge opportunity for your business. This means reviewing your current service portfolio and identifying any gaps that need to be filled to meet changing customer requirements. It also means identifying the sectors and use cases that are likely to be early adopters of edge computing, such as health care and manufacturing, which process a high-level of dispersed data.

Develop a common understanding. Before your organisation can capitalise on the edge opportunity, you need to first understand the technology. Just like the rise of cloud and managed services 10 years ago, edge computing is still a fairly new technology and can mean different things to different people. Some resellers may see edge purely as the end devices on a network, while others may think it’s the endpoint devices on a network. However, it is the edge of public cloud that links to end-user devices.

Make sure you take the time to upskill your workforce to develop a common understanding of what edge computing is. If internal expertise doesn’t exist to do so, identify a partner that can provide the support and training required.

Look beyond public cloud. As cloud adoption has continued to rise, many resellers have focused their portfolio purely on public cloud. However, as data volumes continue to grow, the demand for hybrid and multicloud strategies will increase as businesses look to reduce the costs of storing everything in public cloud.

Revisit your strategy and identify how you can diversify your offering to deliver end-to-end cloud solutions. Consider connecting to an established and scalable national network of data centres and cloud platforms to deliver immediate market impact and revenue growth.

Build an edge network. Developing an edge offering requires connection to the UK’s digital edge. As network traffic increases across a wider spread of geographical locations, data traveling back to one centralised data centre will become congested. An edge networking approach that spreads the load across three or four regional edge data centres will mean data can be …

Sep 20

F5 Strengthening Cloud Security with $68 Million Threat Stack Acquisition

By | Managed Services News

F5 is shelling out $68 million for Threat Stack, a privately held provider of cloud security and workload protection.

F5’s application and API protection solutions will combine with Threat Stack’s cloud security capabilities and expertise.

The acquisition, subject to customary closing conditions, should close by the end of the year. Mark Weiner is vice president of marketing in F5’s security product group.

F5 Networks' Mark Weiner

F5 Networks’ Mark Weiner

“We will begin a lot of the work with partners after the acquisition closes,” he said. “We expect opportunities for our channel partners to build new areas of technology integration with cloud providers and vendor partners that will provide expanded visibility and protection for their customers, and further strengthen both their and F5‘s ecosystem and customer value. Once the acquisition closes, we will work closely and strategically to strengthen our combined partner ecosystem.”

Detecting and Mitigating Threats

F5 provides adaptive applications that enable customers to secure and deliver digital experiences. A core tenet of adaptive applications is detecting and mitigating threats in real time. The addition of Threat Stack will accelerate the delivery of this capability for F5’s customers, the company said.

Keep up with the latest channel-impacting mergers and acquisitions in our M&A roundup.

Threat Stack provides technology and talent to strengthen F5’s application security capabilities and accelerate our adaptive applications vision through broader cloud observability and actionable security insights for customers,” Weiner added.

The acquisition will strengthen both F5 and its partners’ competitive advantage, he said.

“F5’s application and API protection solutions combined with Threat Stack’s cloud security capabilities and expertise will enhance visibility across application infrastructure and workloads, making it easier for customers to adopt consistent security in any cloud,” Weiner said. “In addition, Threat Stack’s proactive risk identification and real-time threat detection combined with the breadth of F5’s application insights and controls will improve protection of mission critical apps and ease the burden on security teams.”

Haiyan Song is F5‘s executive vice president of security.

“Applications are the backbone of today’s modern businesses, and protecting them is mission-critical for our customers,” she said  “Threat Stack brings technology and talent that will strengthen F5’s security capabilities and further our adaptive applications vision with broader cloud observability and actionable security insights for customers.”

Sep 20

Veritas Outlines Plans for ‘Force Multiplier’ Channel

By | Managed Services News

Veritas’ EMEAI channel chief reveals plan to reactivate relationships and increase partner engagement.

Data protection company Veritas has revealed a detailed plan to increase channel sales across Europe.

The strategy includes reactivating existing channel relationships, increasing partner engagement and driving more new business. The aim is to “create a force multiplier through the channel to drive scale and reach.”

Vertias' Geoff Greenlaw

Veritas’ Geoff Greenlaw

“We’re putting the channel back on the market” in Europe, said Geoff Greenlaw, Veritas’ EMEAI channel chief. More than 90% of Veritas’ business is already indirect in the region, said Greenlaw. However, the vendor is looking to “continue to increase that over time.”

“It’s growing because we’re really pushing back on end user customers. There has to be a valid reason for a direct contracts,” he said.

The first thing to do is to elevate the Veritas brand within the channel. The exec said the vendor needs “to get back on the map in our channel community.”

“Remember, we are a 30-year-old business,” he said. “We have very mature products in a very, very mature market. There’s a perception that can become commoditized. But remember, we’re not a one-trick pony — it’s not just backup that we do. If you look at the breadth and depth of our product portfolio, there are so many incremental value-adds for a channel partner to engage in.”

These include high availability, disaster recovery, archiving and storage management, he said.

“It’s getting that message across, that the profitability you can grow is far greater than just the sum of the parts. I feel that we need to be more vocal.”

3-Point Plan

Creating a channel force multiplier comes down to three pillars, said the channel chief. The first is activating the channel community.

“We need more active Veritas sellers,” he said. “We do that through enablement and accreditation. That’s more people with better Veritas knowledge, more Veritas voice, more people talking to end users about the Veritas product portfolio.”

Indeed, over the last 12 months, Veritas has grown the number of accreditations in the field by around 150%. The strategy is already working — last year Veritas reactivated more than 500 accounts across EMEA through this model.

The second pillar is improving partner engagement. One example is a quarterly event called Platinum Advantage, where Veritas’ top partners engage with execs on industry issues.

“That’s been a revelation for us in terms of understanding what’s going on in the market,” said Greenlaw. “All too often we’re very insular. That’s really changed the dynamics of how you’re engaging.”

Pillar No. 3 is accelerating sales.

“I’ve got this concept of growth mindset versus fixed mindset. I don’t want to deal with partners who have a fixed mindset,” said Greenlaw.

One initiative sees the firm incentivizing partners to wrap new business around their annuity support contracts.

“We have this annual event that is a renewal,” said Greenlaw. “But we’re measuring our partners now on how much new business pipeline as can you associate with that renewal.”

The aim, he said, is to flush out partners that are living on their renewal business.

The vendor is also driving new logo activity. The relaunch of its partner program in April saw Veritas double rebate percentages for new customer acquisition.

“If you bring a new customer who Veritas hasn’t transacted with in the last two years, we’ll pay up to 24% in backend rebate on the value of that opportunity,” said Greenlaw.

Greenlaw noted that profitability is key to partners’ willingness to engage with vendors. He noted that Veritas, on average, only appears between 10 and 12 on vendor lists for turnover. However, he said “we always beat them on profitability — which always gets you an ear at the boardroom table.

“While turnover may not be as good as Cisco, HP and the large hardware vendors … profitability is key. And that really resonates,” he added.

Pay for Performance

Platinum partners, global system integrators and alliances are a key focus for large enterprise, with more than one-half of Veritas’ business going through those channels. The partner program pays up to a 3.5% rebate for growth in those top tier accounts. That’s double last year’s number.

Although Veritas said it couldn’t supply official partner numbers at the time, Greenlaw said it grew platinum partners by 20% last year.

Elsewhere, in the middle tier, Veritas is looking to activate a number of existing accounts.

“We have thousands of accounts in that space but we don’t have the bandwidth to engage,” said Greenlaw. “We need our channel partners to help us fulfil business in that space.

Meanwhile, in the SMB and midmarket, the firm wants to accelerate growth in that space via distribution.

“In the distribution-managed space, we’re now paying up to 5% rebate for growth in their partners. That’s a 250% increase year over year,” said Greenlaw.

“It’s an investment of more dollars into directing our channel community to where we want them to focus. It’s a pay-for-performance mentality, and it helps focus their minds on where they should be selling.”

 

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