British security vendor Clearswift is in channel bridge-building mode as it woos resellers with its new "adaptive redaction" data loss prevention (DLP) technology.
The UK-based firm has pledged to stop selling direct and has restored the channel account manager (CAM) roles it controversially axed two and a half years ago as it looks to rebuild channel trust.
It has also created a new seven-figure discretionary marketing pot, half of which is earmarked for strategic partners, to help swell demand for its new technology as it moves beyond its roots as a web and email filtering vendor.
Talking to CRN, worldwide senior vice president of sales, Ciaran Rafferty, said the vendor had ploughed 22 per cent of its operating expenditure over the past 18 months into developing new wares such as Clearswift Adaptive Redaction.
"We've got some building of bridges to do with the channel due to some of the historic decisions that were made," he admitted.
Many firms had shied away from DLP in the past because of its perceived high cost and the issue of getting false positives, Rafferty said.
"Due to our heritage in deep content inspection, we are able to release information and take out all the sensitive information with a very simple policy," he said. "After Snowden, the market is worried about who is in there and who has access to [data] but the control of it can be a challenge. This product gives them a key differentiator."
Having joined in March, Rafferty has moved to bring in former Symantec bigwig Helen Wood as vice president of channel EMEA, focusing on the UK and Germany. Under Wood's leadership, Clearswift is restoring the team of CAMs it controversially axed under previous management in 2012, with six new heads set to come on board, adding to the one CAM already in place. Total headcount is set to swell from 150 to 180 as the firm looks to capitalise on its R&D splurge.
"We want to put Clearswift back on the map," Rafferty (pictured) said.
About 10 per cent of Clearswift's business has historically been conducted direct, but Rafferty said the vendor is moving to a 100 per cent channel model.
Although Clearswift plans to focus on 10 strategic UK partners, a new channel programme governing its wider base of more than 1,000 global partners will launch in the autumn, Rafferty said. This ill see the Lyceum Capital-backed vendor move from a discount-off-list to retained-margin model.
"We are refocusing on some key strategic partners while ensuring we have a global channel programme so that partners are treated with respect and there is a good retained margin model," Rafferty explained.
James McKee, security manager at security VAR Qual, said Clearswift's decision to axe CAMs – a role many view as the vital link between vendors and resellers – had been a "disaster".
"They realised they made an error and since we've been dealing with our new CAM things are back to where they were," McKee said, adding that Qual has actually had a CAM allocated to it for about a year.
Adaptive Redaction provides resellers with an "interesting story" to take to customers, McKee added.
"Web and email is what gets us through the door but Adaptive Redaction maintains their attention," he said. "It's not the kind of phrase that rolls off the tongue but it's a good story and differentiator for them in the market."
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