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Perimeter Internetworking has come up with a plan to turn any VAR or integrator into an instant managed-services provider.

The Milford, Conn., company, itself a managed-services provider, has packaged 60 of its managed services and is now offering them to VARS, integrators and service providers through its Instant Managed Services Solutions Provider program.

Perimeter launched the initiative last week during the CompTIA Breakaway conference in Las Vegas.

Through the program, VARs, integrators and service providers can pick and choose from a comprehensive menu of managed-services offerings, including secure e-mail, malicious code defense, intrusion defense and secure access.

Partners may opt for a hosted-services model or services delivered on-site at customer locations.

Going into Breakaway, Perimeter already had 17 partners, but the company took advantage of the gathering of hundreds of resellers to make the partner initiative official.

“We ended up with about 50 VARs who want follow-up as a result of the show, and a larger number who have a more general, but less urgent, interest,” said Gerard Kane, regional vice president of business development at Perimeter.

Mariano Dy-Liacco, Perimeter senior vice president of corporate sales, said the company decided to formalize the partner program to satisfy a growing need in the channel.

“VARs in general are really trying to figure out how to get into this market today,” Dy-Liacco said.

Perimeter logged revenue in 2004 of about $16 million, 89 percent of which came from security services and technology. The company delivers its services from three NOC (Network Operation Centers) and two redundant data centers.

Perimeter pioneered what it calls “Security in the Cloud,” a subscription-based service that connects businesses to the Internet without the businesses having to make a big infrastructure investment.

With its strong emphasis on security, Perimeter has placed itself in the thick of the channel’s fastest-growing businesses—security and managed services. “We are in the industry sweet spot,” Kane said.

Demand for managed services, including managed security, has shot up in the last two years as resellers seek opportunities for recurring revenue. Through managed services, resellers take over remotely some or all of a customer’s IT department and bill monthly for the work.

Rather than making the investment in the infrastructure required to offer remote services, most channel companies are partnering with others that already have a NOC in place.

Even companies with plans to build their own NOCs can take advantage of Perimeter’s packaged offerings until they do so, Dy-Liacco said. The company, he said, is removing the upfront cost for them of getting into the business.

Perimeter, however, has found with its existing partners that even though many intend to build their own NOCs, they keep partnering instead, he said.

And that is not surprising, considering that the shift to a recurring revenue stream proves quite challenging for sales professionals trained in transaction selling, be it product or project-based sales. This is why Perimeter’s partner program includes marketing and sales training to remarket the services.

It makes sense for traditional VARs and integrators to make the shif to managed services gradually, said Peter Sandiford, CEO of LPI Level Plaftorms Inc., Ottawa, which sells a managed-services software platform to channel companies.

“Attempting a wholesale transition of the business to become an MSP is a bad idea,” Sandiford said. “What most VARs are doing is adding remote monitoring and management tools to allow them to begin to create a recurring revenue stream, optimize their service delivery operations and provide better customer service.”

Dy-Liacco said he hopes to recruit eight to 10 VARs per quarter for the Instant MSSP program. “That would be a good start for us.”

Dy-Liacco said he is confident about meeting that goal, even if selling managed services still requires a fair amount of evangelizing with some VARs.

“Some VARs get it, and those that get it want to accelerate it,” he said. “For those that don’t get it, it’s a matter of time.”

Miami-based networking VAR DataCorp decided to partner with Perimeter two years ago when customers started asking for security services DataCorp did not provide, said Managing Partner Hugo Perez.

The relationship has expanded since and opened opportunities to DataCorp in such areas as financial services that it could not have gotten into on its own, Perez said.

He applauded Perimeter’s move to formalize the partner program, saying successful channel companies have to become part of an ecosystem that includes other channel partners as well vendor partners in order to be successful.

Dy-Liacco said Perimeter realizes other MSPs are going to be launching partner programs to meet growing demand, so it was important to “get out there and the name out quickly.” But it also is important, he added, to have a strong commitment to the model and to truly understand partner needs.