As the big security vendors around it redraw their channel blueprints, Check Point’s partner landscape has remained a picture of stability.
However, the vendor is keen to drive a shift in its partners’ behaviour as it moves away from its firewall roots.
Check Point grew 15 per cent in its most recent quarter, but Amnon Bar-Lev, vice president of global field operations, said partners who do not embrace its software blade architecture will lose steam quickly.
“The biggest motivation partners have is how to grow their business,” he said. “It is not enough to go after new customers. It is more important for them to go to the current install base – and we own 40 per cent of the market – and provide them with more solutions.”
Check Point has launched a wide array of software blades over the past two years, and Bar-Lev claimed the arguments for adoption stacked up.
“If you already have a firewall with Check Point, why shouldn’t you have an IPS as well?” he said. “The latest NSS report shows it is the best IPS on the market and will cost you between $1,500 (£928) and $4,500 per year, so it costs a fraction of any other vendor out there.
“The partner already owns the customer, so let’s go out there and continue to upsell more products so the customer saves money and everything is managed from the same console.”
Nick Lowe, regional director of Northern Europe at Check Point, admitted it would be easy for established partners to cling to the security blanket of Check Point’s traditional firewall business.
“Partners often stick with what they know,” Lowe said. “But we have made it very easy for them to introduce some of the newer technologies, such as DLP, to our customers, and that is having an enormous effect on adoption.”
Having joined the vendor in 2005 from a Check Point Platinum partner, Bar-Lev possesses an insider’s knowledge of what drives partner behaviour. He earmarked improving ease of doing business as a priority.
“We want to bring more tools,” he said. “The thing that is always on my mind is how to ensure Check Point is easy to do business with. We have brought in a quoting tool that quotes all promotions so partners can get the best pricing.
“One of the biggest struggles is knowledge transfer and partners selling only what they know. So we now deliver a ‘sales glance’ for every product, explaining it and providing competitive analysis.
“We are going to deliver much more information on what the partners can do better when we analyse their install base.” Bar-Lev was tight-lipped on Check Point’s road map, although he hinted that bots were an area of growing concern.
However, he claimed that a lot of the recent high-profile hacks involving the likes of RSA, Sony and the IMF were preventable with current technology.
“If people had used some of the tools they already had, they might have had better protection,” Bar-Lev said. “If they had used our IPS software blade and configured it correctly, those things would have been blocked.”
Bar-Lev confirmed that Check Point will also continue to flex its M&A muscle to strengthen its portfolio, but admitted the vendor was picky.
“We are actively looking for acquisitions and have the resources with which to do it,” he said.
But Bar-Lev explained that Check Point is looking to make acquisitions that are relevant. “For instance, before we came into the DLP space, we examined each and every player and none fitted our strategy of a product that was simple to use, affordable and that customers could see had value.
“When we buy a technology, we bring it home and spend a substantial amount of time fully integrating it into our offering before bringing it back to market.
“Everything has to be managed centrally and must work in harmony, so we are not looking for a point product. Even if we have to pay the price to rewrite them, we want to get them the right way.”
Bar-Lev waved off suggestions that the security market was flat and Lowe emphasised that the vendor is growing, even in the awkward UK market.
“Most organisations are looking to ease the burden of managing security,” he said. “The bright, energetic partners have got it and the end users have certainly bought into Check Point’s positioning – that is why we are having a good time.”
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