Security vendor 8e6 is scooping up VARs left reeling since the acquisition of SurfControl by Websense.


8e6, which has been on a recruitment drive for solution providers since it started building up its channel, said it is taking on a significant number of VARs that are looking for an alternative to Websense.


Paul Myer, president and chief operating officer at 8e6, said SurfControl had a similar model to 8e6 in that it selected specialized VARs as part of its partner program.  “So the VARs that did not want to join the Websense program are coming to us,” he said.  


He added that he thinks VARs want to carry an alternative to Websense, which is the market leader in the Internet filtering space.  “When Websense combined its channel with SurfControl’s channel, it had close to 5,000 VARs.  We only have around 200, so VARs can get a more focused approach from us and make more margin,” he said. 


Louis Bisbiglia, regional manager of FortNet, an 8e6 partner, said Websense had been in contact with his firm. “We looked at all the vendors, but we found that Websense was the 800-pound gorilla in the space and we wouldn’t get much mindshare within the company,” he said. 


Click here to read about 8e6’s strategy in the education market.


Myer said the vendor has also made some changes to its channel program, another reason he thinks VARs are turning to 8e6.  The vendor has added a tiered structure into its 8e6 PartnerFocus partner program and updated its deal registration program.


“We now have Platinum, Silver and Gold levels,” Myer said.  “Previously, partners could achieve a maximum of 30 percent margin. We’ve now upped this to 40 percent for Platinum partners.” Gold partners can get up to 30 percent and Silver up to 15 percent margin, he added.  


Partners hoping to achieve Platinum status must fit four criteria, which Meyer said are not driven by volume and revenue. VARs must have the ability to fulfill the product, have at least one certified sales person, be able to support the products technically and, finally, register the deal on the 8e6 deal registration portal.


Myer said the portal has now been updated so partners can add their deals online. “We can then turn this around in 24 hours. Before it was more ad hoc and paper-based,” he said.


Bisbiglia said FortNet is a Platinum partner and 8e6 has done a good job aligning margin with partner effort.  “The tiered program has really helped us.  We are pretty self-sufficient and do the deal from cold call right through to closure, and now we get the margin that reflects that,” he said.