Cloud security vendor Zscaler believes it can become the security market's equivalent of Amazon or Salesforce after launching its first partner programme.
Cloud-based solutions represented about a tenth of a secure gateway market worth about $1bn (£630m) last year, according to Gartner, but they are growing at a lightning 55 per cent annually.
Founded in 2007, Zscaler provides cloud-based web, email and DLP security solutions and claims to have built up the world's largest security cloud, with 90 nodes.
The California-based firm has recently enlisted a string of big-name executives, including former Blue Coat EMEA boss Craig Stewart.
Stewart said the firm's 74 EMEA partners would soon benefit from the rollout of its three-tier Pinnacle partner programme, which offers all the usual perks such as deal registration, MDF and training. In the US, top-level Summit partners are required to achieve $1m annual licence sales.
Stewart, who is vice president of EMEA, stressed that the channel is the best route for Zscaler to scale its business.
"Forwarding traffic from the customer to the cloud is a trivial exercise," he said. "But to do so when you are also working with multiple gateways, disaster recovery and authentication is not trivial, and it takes someone who understands the customer's network. To a large extent that knowledge exists in the channel."
Stewart picked out Cisco-owned ScanSafe as Zscaler's closest rival, insisting that cloud is just an add-on for the big appliance vendors such as Blue Coat, Fortinet, Websense and McAfee.
"Our intent is to do to the security market what Amazon is doing to Borders and Salesforce is to Siebel," he said.
Stewart added that the vendor is not in the business of converting cloud-sceptic resellers.
"The thing I learned during the Blue Coat-Packeteer merger is that it is very difficult to get channels to do something they do not want to or are not already doing," he said.
"So although we will be doing the normal education, our primary strategy is to engage aggressively with the channels that have the same vision as us."
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