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It’s been said that all politics is local. And so is IT, say the operators of an Israeli-based security vendor.

Safend, of Tel Aviv, maker of port protection software that guards against unauthorized end-point breaches, claims there is no better path to grow market share worldwide than through the channel, where local VARs can identify need and market their solutions locally.

“The right network of resellers will build the market for us,” said Ari Fruchter, channel program director at Safend, which has its business offices in Philadelphia.

“They will be out there introducing the product to customers and building market share for us. The channel will generate our sales and our name as we build. And we will build their business by offering a product no one else does.”

Joe Heinzen, president of e-Convergence Solutions, of Centreville, Va., which will distribute Safend’s line to U.S. resellers, said the regional marketing plan is the only one to have for growing companies.

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“[The channel] is really the only way an emerging vendor can capitalize on the short window of opportunity they have,” said Heinzen.

“Today’s marketplace moves too fast to build a direct sales force,” said Heinzen. “If you have a competitive advantage with an emerging product, you have to act quickly while you have that edge. You can’t build a direct sales force in a short-enough time. The only thing that makes sense is to use the existing channel to bring your product to market.

“The real value that the reseller brings,” added Heinzen, “is their relationship with their customers. So Safend is leveraging that to bring their product to market.”

The model has already grabbed business from 50 enterprise companies and many SMBs (small and midsize businesses), Fruchter said.

Safend’s USB Auditor and USB Port Protector are designed to allow customers to monitor and regulate what goes out their end-points, such as USB, PCMCIA, serial and parallel ports, a looming threat in many industries.

Channel partners will be required to receive technical and sales training (one hour each) as well as assistance with generating customer demand, Safend announced.

Channel margins are set to begin at 25 percent and will increase depending on the partner type and annual revenue.

For their part, participating VARs should expect the opportunity to differentiate themselves from competitors with a unique product and build a base of professional service clients along the way, according to two of the 15 VARs already pushing Safend’s sole product, USB Port Protector software.

Safend Protector, offering protection over all local-access interfaces, is slated for release in mid-September.

Filling an industry-wide niche.

“When I looked at the product, I instantly thought this fills a niche that nobody else does,” said Dennis M. Cichelli, president of LANTek, of Kutztown, Pa., a network solution provider.

“This has the potential for horizontal and vertical sales across multiple industries, and it gives me the chance to offer something nobody in my region is offering right now. The fact that they aren’t partnering with the big distributors means we have a level playing field,” said Cichelli.

Most likely to reap immediate benefits will be VARs specializing in the health care and financial markets, where data loss can mean significant financial damage or government fines, said John Papaioannou, president of Promenet, a systems integrator headquartered on Wall Street.

“Anyone in these businesses has to secure every end point,” Papaioannou said. “They’re used to thinking firewall protection, virus protection. This is simple to miss but potentially disastrous.

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“Any employee could walk in with an iPod, plug into a USB and be out 100,000 documents in 30 seconds. That could be millions of dollars in losses or, with Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA, thousands of dollars in fines.”

Safend intends its line to be the dominant protector of end points at enterprises worldwide.

But executives expect SMB sales to fuel their progress and that of their resellers as enterprise companies join in, said Dor Skuler, Safend’s vice president of business development.

“The product is uniquely suited to serve all sectors, from the biggest SMBs to the smallest companies,” Skuler said.

“That should be an attractive package as we bring resellers on board who may be worried about waiting for the big deals to go through. It is affordable, and it is an easy sell to every sector,” added Skuler.

“The bottom line is this is something that affects everyone,” LANTek’s Cichelli said. “We have some Fortune 100 companies who would be sunk if they got bit by this. But we also have some wineries and candy stores that would be equally hurt if their recipes got out.”

A key to making any product work, Cichelli said, is making the customer aware, and Safend has developed a unique strategy to entice both VARs and clients.

Customers may download Safend’s Auditor free to monitor USB activity for 30 days and determine their threat level before they consider a purchase.

“It makes selling easy,” Cichelli said. “Any time you can let them decide on their own and with their own data, you make it easier on everybody. This isn’t an industry report; this isn’t a poll; this is their own data.”

Products like Safend also offer VARs the chance to bring new clients into the professional services arena, Heinzen said.

“It’s a reason to open doors again,” Heinzen said.

“During the conversation to implement the solution, resellers have to look at the directory infrastructure, so not only do they have the opportunity to provide services to implement the Safend solution, but in that process, they may also open up opportunities to identify other problems that the user may not have been aware of or may have handled in a manner that is not most effective…it’s another opportunity.”