Symantec Incents Managed Security Services Experts
Symantec partners are being tasked with taking the vendor’s managed security services strategy to the next level. The vendor is hoping to boost its business in the area with a new specialization in its partner program that will reward partners that meet the skills and knowledge requirements.
Partners can achieve the new Managed Security Service (MSS) Specialization by demonstrating expertise in Symantec Managed Security Services and Symantec DeepSight Early Warning Services, and by providing customers with real-time threat monitoring and analysis. As a key element of the Symantec Partner Program, specializations represent increased opportunities for partners that are able to prove their capabilities in a specific solution area or market. Symantec has several partners with expertise in its MSS offerings and many that have passed leads on to the vendor for referral fees. Symantec has its eyes set on growing its managed security services business; and for that to happen, it needs channel partners to lead the way. The new specialization will offer benefits and tools to partners that are experts in Symantec managed security services, providing a way to differentiate themselves to customers in the market.
"Managed security services has traditionally been you’re working with a customer and they’re outsourcing the management of their security to Symantec, and putting a partner in the middle of that can be difficult," said Randy Cochran, vice president of channel sales for the Americas at Symantec. The solution? Make it a partner-led model and reward partners who develop the expertise necessary to take managed security services to market.
According to Cochran, the new Managed Security Service (MSS) Specialization was developed because partners were requesting it. As with other specializations within the Symantec Partner Program, partners that gain the specialization will have access to an opportunity registration program, sales and technical resources, tailored promotions, and other tools and incentives to help drive business.
Another key reason for turning the business over to the channel is to drive it further down the stack. Symantec managed security services have typically been purchased by medium and large businesses, but Cochran said he expects the MSS Specialization to drive it down to smaller businesses over time.
To be eligible for the MSS Specialization accreditation, channel partners must be enrolled in the Symantec Partner Program as a Corporate Platinum, Platinum, Gold, Silver or Registered level channel partner or as a Global Strategic Partner. They must meet other criteria, as well, including completing Symantec training and accreditation requirements for MSS solutions. MSS Specialists are also required to develop rolling business plans and make a commitment to joint account planning and opportunity reviews each quarter to evaluate their progress.
It’s not a program for everybody, but that fits well into one of the themes of Symantec Partner Exchange, where the new specialization was announced. Symantec executives talked about the benefits of partner-to-partner business and collaborations. Partners that don’t have the expertise and don’t plan on acquiring it may come across managed security services opportunities, and Symantec is nudging those partners to team up with MSS specialists to work together on deals. As Cochran said, it’s better to get part of a deal than none of it.
"Symantec is committed to helping our partners capitalize on delivering services and over the past two years, we have evolved our managed security services model to be more partner-led. The MSS Specialization was designed to help these partners drive more revenue and increase the value they provide to our joint customers," Cochran said.
In addition to the MSS Specialization accreditation, Symantec also made a few other announcements at its Partner Engage event in Chandler, Arizona:
Symantec Endpoint Protection.cloud and Backup Exec.cloud are now being offered to partners through the vendor’s traditional distribution, giving partners more choice in how they bring Symantec solutions to their customers.
Symantec will release Data Loss Protection for iPad 2 in the next few months.
Symantec O3 is currently in beta and will be generally available in early 2012.
The vendor will announce its CloudSmart program later this month. CloudSmart will provide information on Symantec’s definition of cloud and how channel partners can get into the cloud business. The information will be released in modular packets over the next several months.