One of the key announcements at Cisco’s Partner Summit 2007 this week was the Cisco Smart Service — a support-and-monitoring service that Cisco described as halfway between its SmartNet break/fix support service and high-end network management and monitoring services many of its channel partners offer.
The service is a pure resale opportunity for partners; Cisco built the software and maintains the network. Partners can add whatever additional services they want, and charge anything they want, because Cisco keeps the price secret from everyone except partners.
Fortunately we were able to glean a few details about the price list (actually, the price list) and the reaction of some partners to the potential downsides of the service.
Microsoft roping more into Longhorn Server release Software maker says it has added to Longhorn Server since the last major test version and that the OS is on track for release later this year. [CNET]
Vista SP1: To be or not to be? This week in Security Blog Log: The owner of The Hotfix.net blog sparks controversy by posting what he claims are 100 fixes slated for Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1).
More Windows patches coming next week In a preview of next week’s monthly patch release, Microsoft said it plans to issue four more Windows updates on top of the ANI fix it rushed out this week.[SearchSecurity.com]
As hackers are developing business models and customer service departments, it should probably come as no surprise that network security is doing well.
According to a recently released Infonetics Research study, the network security sector has continued to grow through 2006 and is expected keep going.
The big winners were the secure router sector, which continued to dominate worldwide sales, claiming a 25% increase through 2005 and 2006 and passing the $1 billion mark. Cisco retained its position as market leader (unsurprisingly), with Juniper and Check Point tying for second.
Before channel pros pop the corks on their champagne bottles over their network security appliance and software accounts, they should know that appliance revenues are expected to slow significantly in the face of rising content security gateway demands.
Between now and 2010, content security appliance revenues are projected to grow 168% worldwide, reaching $2.3 billion in 2010. Content security software is also expected grow steadily, though the lack of interest from small and midsized businesses will keep those numbers from jumping off the charts.
You only have to go to Hell once.
The world is divided into two kinds of people: those who love Las Vegas, and those who go there for conferences; again and again and again. Snippets from Cisco’s Partner Summit 2007 at the Venetian hotel and Sands convention center:
IRS rapped for missing laptops Blog: The nation’s dedicated tax-collecting agency raised eyebrows about five years ago when it discovered more than 2,300 of its computers. [CNET]
Google thwarts al-Qaeda kamikaze strike on US embassy
London consulate cunningly disguised [TheReg]
Software AG gobbles up WebMethods Consolidation in enterprise software continues as two more infrastructure providers combine. [CNET]
Susan Don has an unusual message for the thousands of value-added resellers (VARs) and assorted other partners at Cisco’s Partner Summit in
Las Vegas this week: stop selling security.
As security lead for worldwide channels, Don’s job is to help those partners sell security products, so it’s a message likely to (designed to) make the 4,000 or so attendees sit up and take notice, despite their hangovers, Vegas-born regrets and toxic overdoses on smoke, blue lights and performing executives on the main stage.
Her opening line is only an attention-getter, though. Her intent is to urge Cisco partners to sell security as part of every deal, not as a separate part that may or may not be included, depending on the situation. She won’t get much time on the main stage, but she hopes to go into more detail in breakout sessions later on.
By including the appropriate parts of Cisco’s security product line in every pitch, Don said, Cisco partners will “change the competitive landscape” for Cisco’s other products by offering secure routing instead of routing, secure wireless instead of wireless.
Other networking companies offer security with their products, or bundle other company’s security products with their own. How selling security as part of a wireless deal rather than as the security on top of a wireless deal isn’t entirely clear. No new products or incentives are involved at this point.
Don’s effort right now is to get partners to stop looking at security as a separate, stovepiped practice like networking or managed services or unified communications.
Network storage software developer FalconStor Software Inc. has announced changes to its channel program that it hopes will encourage partners to sign more deals and invest in certification programs in return for lucrative rebates, greater marketing dollars and assistance with lead generation, among other incentives.
The Melville, NY- based company will segment its 130 channel partners into a three-tier program based on revenues and certification. In the elite tier, the company requires partners to post $750,000 in revenues, which include income from net new business as well as licensing renewals. Elite partners must have two certified technical employees and three or four certified on the sales side. Partners achieving this goal will get a rebate of up to 4% on revenues. They will also qualify for the market development fund (MDF) program which gives them dedicated marketing assistance.
Premier partners must earn $350,000 and must have one certified technical employee and two or three certified on the sales side. Premier partners qualify for the MDF program, but they won’t receive a rebate.
Associate partners have revenues under $350,000. They must have one certified technical employee and one or two certified in sales. However, associate partners won’t qualify for either the MDF or rebate programs.
“The drive is to get partners all the way up to the elite program,” said Camberly Bates, FalconStor’s chief marketing officer.
Solution providers contribute 60% of the company’s revenues while 40% is through the company OEM’s like Sun and EMC.
In the area of training the company has developed online training as well as offering a four day course at its New York headquarters. Partners will be trained in two tracks: one on virtual tape libraries and the other on IPstore platform which includes disk based backup, continuous data protection, virtualization and replication software.
In recent months the company has expanded its outbound telemarketing and inside sales staf and executives said it’s committed to generating leads that match a partner’s skills and location. Partners registering deals will receive on average a 30% discount.
While FalconStor won’t refuse new channel partners, Tony Salvia, director of channel marketing, said the latest adjustments are geared toward improving the performance of its current channel partners.
“The enhancements that we’ve made in this partner program are directed toward enabling the partners that we have, making them more productive and helping them to meet the aggressive growth goals that FalconStor has,” Salvia said.
— Nicole Lewis
Microsoft patches Windows vulnerability Microsoft Corp. released an emergency security patch Tuesday to plug a hole in several versions of Windows – includingVista, which the software maker has touted as its most secure operating system ever. [AP]
HP ProCurve recruits allies for war on Cisco ProCurve Alliance promises interoperability testing and joint promos. [TheReg]
Most SMBs will be virtual by 2020 Reality is overrated, says Rackspace report. [TheReg]
Cisco Systems, Inc. announced this morning that it is introducing a new, entry-level partner certification level and a host of new products all designed to help it expand its presence in the small- and medium-sized business market.
Cisco’s SMB announcement this morning at its Partner Summit in Las Vegas included the announcement of its SMB Specialization for channel partners – the first time Cisco has designated a certification for a segment of the market rather than a technical specialty.
The announcemend also included a package of products designed for networks of 16 users or fewer, including the previously announced Unified Communications 500 series, which supports both softphone and dual-mode phone voice-over-IP networks, and is designed to be simple enough to use that no IT specialist is required.
The SMB package also included the Catalyst Express 520, a Power over Ethernet (PoE) switch designed for Cisco VOIP phones, the 521 Wireless Express Access Point and 526 Express Mobility Controller. Together those two wireless LAN components are designed to create dynamic wireless networks with – again – little help from IT specialists.
Cisco also announced new versions of its Configuration Assistant and Monitor Director/Monitor Manager, which provide real-time monitoring and troubleshooting that is usually provided by channel companies.
The new Select certification adds a new tier to Cisco’s Certified Partner program, which currently includes Gold, Silver and Premier levels, plus Registered partners that sign up as resellers, but aren’t eligible for most of the training, discount or rebate programs available to Certified partners.
Cisco execs said they expect about half the 10,000 Registered partners to move up to Select. Members of Cisco’s SMB Select program – its current SMB-focused channel category – will have six months to qualify as Select partners.
Achieving Select status requires an SMB Specialization certification – which means passing a series of training sessions and exams focused on the sales and technical skills required to serve SMB customers.
In return, partners will get access to partner-development funds to help generate demand and prospect for new customers, as well as access to the new SMB Opportunity Incentive Program, which rewards SMB-focused VARs for finding and landing new customers. Select partners also get access to other Cisco incentive programs, including Cisco Capital’s Easy Lease program, which helps fund projects for SMB VARs without requiring hefty upfront payments for all the equipment involved. (Also see Cisco to extend SMB leasing through Ingram Micro partners.)
The SMB specialty is Cisco’s first to focus on the size of a market rather than its technical specialty. It has introduced several technical specialty certifications during the past year, in an attempt to expand sales in security, voice-over-IP and other areas. (See also Smaller VARs annoyed at Cisco’s Master VoIP certification.)
Cisco channel chief Keith Goodwin said the SMB specialty is a continuation of Cisco’s effort to expand its share in the SMB market, which has been weak compared to its dominance in other areas.
“We’re putting a strong marketing focus on that space,” Goodwin told SearchNetworkingChannel.com at the company’s C-Scape analyst conference in San Jose, Calif. in December. “We need to double our SMB resellers. We don’t want all our partners to go there, but we want to build up classes such as distributor affiliates and get them into the Cisco business model where they can grow profitably.”“Cisco didn’t focus on SMB a few years ago,” Goodwin said. “Now, for the first time we’re building purpose-built products for the SMB space and our partners can take advantage of disruptive technology, such as unified communications, to grow their businesses.”
Behavior blocking and heuristics are the next next big thing in malware prevention strategy. It’s like when Prince was singing about 1999 in 1983. One AV vendor using these technologies is San Mateo, Calif.-based behavioral security company Sana Security.
Yesterday, Sana Security announced that they have hired Don Listwin as their new CEO. According to the press release, “In his new position, Listwin will focus on company financing, formulating strategy, and developing partner relationships.”
The company has also closed in on $12 million in funding to fuel a massive expansion.
ZDNet blogger Ryan Naraine thinks that the company will quickly become a prime target for acquisition since the company’s main focus, behavior blocking software, will soon be a necessary component in successful antivirus suites.
My advice to you: Get in while the getting is good. Stay a step ahead. Learn about Sana’s partner program, and compare it to the partner programs of other security vendors with the partner program checklists on SearchSecurityChannel.com. Then you can party like it’s 1999 in 2007 when you’ve impressed your customers with forward thinking.
Do you think that something else is the next next big thing? Let us know, and we’ll help you navigate the details.