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Webroot is hoping to strengthen its ties with the channel and to prove it is serious the company announced this week that it has brought on a new channel chief with deep ties to global security partners.

A veteran channel mover with over 25 years experience, Jerry Jalaba comes to Webroot by way of Postini and Google when it acquired the e-mail security company in 2007. Jalaba was responsible for building out the channel program at Postini.

Jalaba’s appointment is just one part of some major shake ups at Webroot this year. Just last month the company announced the appointment of a new president and CEO, Dick Williams, formerly of Hyperic. And in April the company brought on Don Beck as the general manager and senior vice president of enterprise SaaS and Mark Tickle as managing director for SaaS in EMEA.

While at Postini, Jalaba says that he brought to the company a partnering philosophy that was ever mindful of the symbiosis between vendors and their resellers and system integrators.

“I think the one thing that I tried to do in terms of building the channel is really looking at it from the perspective of the partner,” Jalaba says. “And to try to establish what is the value for them to participate in the sales ecosystem and (thinking about) how they make money doing it and then to try to fit that into our sales strategy and really create a dynamic that allows both companies to be successful. Part of it is ensuring that the partners are making good margin.”

Another part is ensuring that the channel has the opportunity to grab hold of a recurring revenue stream. Like Postini, Webroot embraces the software as a service (SaaS) model, a delivery mechanism that Jalaba believes is particularly beneficial to the channel.

“It’s a great model for the partner. They can kind of build up a revenue stream that over time helps build value in their own business,” Jalaba says. “The service itself allows partners as well to focus on the things they are most expert in: solving security problems for their clients using the technology. Unlike a lot of on premise solutions, i think one of the advantages that they find is that they can really focus on solving the problem and not necessarily deal with logistics and inventory of products.”

With just over a month under his belt as the new vice president of channel sales, Jalaba has already taken to the streets to meet with partners far and wide and get their perspectives on the evolving security market.

“I’ve really spent the last month reaching out and meeting with partners, talking to them, understanding some of their requirements and trying to understand from a program point of view what are some of the things that they’re looking for and not seeing out there in the market today that they’d like to see,” he says.

His diagnosis is that security VARs in particular are seeking vendor partners that support them in a collaborative way, rather than simply trying to push product out the door. He believes Webroot already has a good history of this kind of partnership and he wants to further hone it.

“The ability for the partners to be able to call up the sales rep and work with them on the opportunity or get them to help with a particular customer on a demo or if they have some technical support issues to be able to talk to someone live to get the help that they need is real important to them and is something that i think we’re really uniquely positioned to be able to provide them with,”

While there certainly will be changes on tap in the coming months, Jalaba likely won’t be the type of channel chief to reinvent a program just to leave his own mark on it. He says partners should only expect tweaks to the program.

“I think one of the things that we’ll likely do with partners is create some incentivzed programs with them to kind of facilitate or help them if they want to migrate from antoehr vendor to webroot ,” he says, “just to make it very easy and cost effective for both ther customers and also the resellers.”

Additionally, he and his team are shifting into heavy recruitment mode.  

“I think for any partner that have an interest in expanding their portfolio, maybe adding web security or other services, we want to encourage them to reach back out to us and say i would like to learn a little bit more about Webroot,” Jalaba says.