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Tufin Technologies beefed up its channel partner program this week with a three-pronged upgrade that it hopes will jumpstart indirect sales and benefit resellers and integrators that focus strongly on security.

Based in Israel, Tufin has grown from a small upstart firewall management company to a strong niche player in security lifecycle management. With a year-over-year treble in profit for the past three years and an expansion from 20 channel partners in 2007 to 140 partners today, the company was due for a channel program makeover, says Shaul Efraim, vice president of products, marketing and business development for Tufin.

“When we started with the Tufin channel program almost three years ago the company was quite young and had to log more mileage before we could take it to the next level,” he says. “We are at that point where we have scaled up and we needed to come up with multiple changes to our channel program so that it better fit Tufin in late 2009 versus Tufin in early 2007.”

Tufin started the channel program revision by offering higher performing channel partners appropriate incentives and recognition through a new tiered channel system, designating partners as either Gold- or Silver-level Tufin resellers.

“Better performing partners are getting the recognition that they deserve. They’ll get slightly business terms and they’ll get better support,” Efraim says.

Additionally Tufin is sweetening sales incentives throughout the sales cycle rather than just at the close of a deal. Its new Tufin 1-2-3 incentive program offers spiffs such as Amazon vouchers to partners who push leads through the sales pipeline and generate sales meetings with Tufin reps in addition to traditional incentives after closing a deal.

“Basically each channel partner is getting incentives for making progression across the incentive program,” Efraim says.

Most important among the channel program updates, Efraim says, is the new education and certification program Tufin developed for its resellers.

“Even though we see the channel as critical to our growth and we have a very strong channel program on the business side, we have been delivering knowledge ad hoc,” he says. “One critical part (of the changes) was to provide formal training and certification.”

Dubbed the Tufin Certified Security Expert (TCSE) program, the education program consists of a one-day session with lots of lab time for hands-on training. Following that, trainees will be required to take an exam to receive certification. Efraim says current channel partners see this as an opportunity to not only learn how to implement the product, but also to differentiate themselves.

"(The) new TCSE certification program provides channel partners with the knowledge and resources to demonstrate the significant return on investment that accompanies automating policy management of firewalls and other network devices,” Joe Luciano, chief executive officer of  Access IT Group, a Tufin partner, said in a statement.