Intrusion protection system vendor Reflex Security is shifting its sales strategy to move 100 percent of its North America business through the channel.

The move comes six months after hiring a new channel chief, Bob Darabant, a 25-year channel veteran. Darabant has been working to shift to an indirect sales strategy from what was previously a combined direct and indirect model.

“We are single-tier on the U.S. side, and we are looking for virtualization and security-minded VARs,” said Darabant, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Atlanta-based Reflex. Before joining Reflex, Darabant set up channels for Shiva and Netscreen/Juniper Networks, among others.

The new VAR program, which the company is rolling out this week, classifies solution providers in two tiers, depending on projected sales volume.

“Authorized Partners” are offered a 25 percent discount off U.S. list prices on hardware and software and a 20 percent discount off maintenance, support and training. They also get evaluation units for qualified end-user accounts, access to qualified leads, sales tools, pre-sales support and regular updates via an online partner portal and in-person events.

“Premier Partners” get a 30 percent discount off U.S. list prices on hardware and software, with an additional 7 percent for registering a new account. They also receive the 20 percent discount on maintenance, support and training. In addition to the other incentives Authorized Partners get, the Premier Partners are eligible for co-op marketing funds.

Mark Emerick of, an Apex, N.C.-based VAR, was most impressed by how the company works with its partners since he started with them six months ago.

“Their program was more attractive than what we’ve seen with other IPS vendors. They will work with you more,” he said. “When they find an opportunity, they pass it through the channel,” which some of the larger security vendors with direct sales forces do not do.

“Bigger players have a channel strategy but also a direct sales force where they sometimes end up taking the deal after we’ve done a lot of the work,” he said.

Reflex Security offers its IPS on a flash-based chip that can be embedded in any intrusion detection interface slot. The company also offers its technology in software form where it acts as a guest operating system inside a virtual server environment, Darabant said.

Intrusion protection has not caught on as quickly as some other security technologies, according to Emerick. The old approach that customers took to security was to spend as little as possible because there was no direct return on investment that could be demonstrated to upper management.

What has grown in importance to customers, Emerick said, is the need to prevent the theft of their customers’ personal information, something that IPS and IDS (intrusion detection systems) together can help protect against.

Research firm Gartner is recommending IT shops invest in such systems “to proactively shield endpoints against attacks targeted on known vulnerabilities.”