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Network security start-up Palo Alto Networks has initiated a two-tier distribution system for its channel, partnering with IT distributors Westcon Group and Computerlinks. The move comes after a stellar year for the company, which increased its channel business by 300 percent during that time.

Rene Bonvanie, vice president of marketing for three-year-old Palo Alto Networks, told Channel Insider that his company chose those two distributors because they came highly recommended by Palo Alto Networks 150 North American channel partners.

“We worked with our existing channel partners on what are the most important value-added services to them,” he said. “Many times these two companies came to the forefront because they have interesting programs in place for channel partners” such as support programs, evaluation programs and marketing programs.

“These are highly specialized value added distributors who can do the job,” he said. For Westcon, Palo Alto Networks’ technology adds to its existing security portfolio.

“This is really just a continuous evolution of our security practice,” Lynn Smurthwaite-Murphy, senior vice president of the U.S. and Canada for the Westcon Group told Channel Insider. “Westcon aims to be the go-to company for security distribution.”

Westcon also announced that Andrew Warren has joined Westcon as vice president of Westcon Security. Warren most recently worked at Avnet where he was responsible for growing the distributor’s domestic network security business. He’s held senior level positions in sales and business development as a channel executive over the past 15 years.

"As companies increasingly leverage innovative cloud and applications-based technologies to gain efficiencies, it is of paramount importance to provide assurance that their data is secure,” Warren said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the entire Westcon Security team to help our reseller and vendor partners to address and profit from an entirely new generation of security challenges."