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Kaspersky Lab North America has expanded its 2017 channel partner program with several new enhancements that include new regional support, training and additional rewards. The program adds new specializations that include a managed service provider (MSP) program and an enterprise technology offering. The company also plans to roll out new regional Kaspersky Lab Partner Summit events throughout the year.

“These changes—regional support, new incentives, training and specializations—will enable our partners to work closer with Kaspersky and ultimately help them make more money in their security practices,” said Michael Canavan, senior vice president, sales at Kaspersky Lab. The updated channel partner program will be effective on April 1, 2017.

As part of the 2017 program, Kaspersky Lab, a 100 percent channel-focused company, is adapting its sales structure to expand the company’s relationships with its partners, and to help them grow their security practices.

One of the biggest changes centers on increased one-on-one support through regional partner sales managers. Sales managers will now focus on smaller territories to provide more regular communications with their partners, and they will act as a single point of contact for them. In addition, each of the larger territories will have a channel marketing manager assigned to help with marketing initiatives and the execution of events.

Between last and this year, the company has nearly doubled the number of its partner sales managers, Canavan said.

The company plans to expand its portfolio in 2017, starting with its first enterprise specialization for the Kaspersky Lab Partner Program, called Kaspersky Anti Targeted Attack (KATA). This new specialization enables partners to earn additional margin on registered and approved new sales.

Transitioning to an MSP Business Model

To support the changing landscape of its partner community, Kaspersky also added a specialization for MSPs that includes integration with remote monitoring and managing (RMM) platforms, such as Connectwise and LabTech. This will help partners make the transition from a traditional value-added reseller (VAR) model to an MSP business model.

“As more partners start to look at the security practices they have internally and how they can best enhance those security practices, we need to make sure that we can support them as well,” said Canavan. “Managed services is a trend that we’ve seen over the last couple of years. A lot of the VARs that we are working with today are looking at how they can expand their security practices into managed services.”

As part of its focus in 2017 to build closer relationships with its channel partners, Kaspersky is adding more technical and sales support, tools and resources that include more technical education, to make it easier to do business with the company.

Tech and sales support includes enterprise sales executives and a team of pre-sales engineers that serve two functions. They help partners get up to speed and understand new products and releases, and they serve as backup technical assistance if needed during the pre-sales process.

On the backend, technical support is provided in the U.S., which is a competitive differentiator, said Canavan.

Advanced sales and technical certification requirements, which are mandatory, will provide more hands-on education. This should help partners identify and close more new business opportunities, according to the company.

“If partners can understand how to effectively use a product to its highest capability, that will allow them to adjust very quickly to the threat landscape changes that continue to happen,” said Canavan.

In addition, channel partners investing their time and resources working with Kaspersky Lab will receive enhanced rewards.

The newly launched regional Kaspersky Lab Partner Summits will be held in six major cities in 2017. Building on its strategy for increased one-on-one communications, the new summits will expand partner program activities, product training and education, and technical solutions support.