How PA Networks realigned its partnership program to change the nature of security


The digital transformation has shifted all sectors of activity while smaller, more agile companies have emerged from nowhere to disrupt the status quo. For example, the valuation of Airbnb is now higher than that of the Hilton and Hyatt companies combined and it has no property. Traditional businesses need to be agile to compete in the digital age, pushing them to adopt a host of new technologies, such as cloud, mobility and the Internet of Things.

This may be good for business, but as in many other things in life, each yin is associated with a Yang, and Yang, in this case, increases the complexity of cybersecurity.

Securing a business was never easy, but it was much simpler, as the IT department controlled where employees worked, devices connected, and locations where data was stored. Digital businesses are dynamic and distributed, which means that data, people or devices can be located anywhere, which widens the attack surface by an order of magnitude. In addition, the data can come from the cloud, cross the network, enter the data center, and then the endpoint, carrying malware. Protecting the organization has become increasingly difficult.

No part of a network is safe from security issues.

No single provider can offer an end-to-end solution

Another challenge for security professionals is that no single provider can offer an end-to-end solution.. My research shows that the average number of security solution providers used by companies is 32. Most companies standardize on a few server, network and storage providers, but are forced to use dozens of security vendors. security solutions.

Palo Alto Networks is a provider that seems to have solved the problem. However, its solution does not rely on a single provider. Instead, the company enters the market with a security platform that enables a unique architecture. The pillars of the platform are the company's security products for the network, cloud and endpoints, but customers can then integrate third-party security solutions into the Cortex enabled platform (formerly known as the Application Framework). . This creates a "best of both worlds" scenario, in which companies can have multiple vendors, but the unique architecture simplifies ongoing management.

One of the challenges that Palo Alto Networks has faced in getting their customers to adopt a platform approach is to align their resellers to sell in this way. Many resellers sell very specific security products (such as firewalls), but selling more products does not really help the end customer to be more secure. The last thing security professionals need is a reseller who pushes more material, but resellers often only sell what they know instead of what is best for the customer. What security professionals need today is a reseller partner that can deliver better business results to secure their digital transformation initiatives and platform activation.

Reorganize the partner program

To encourage its partners to make this change, Palo Alto Networks has invested its money where it is and reorganized its partnership program. The new NextWave program is based on its partners who sell a service track – a complete platform rather than individual products. Those who do it will be up to five times more profitable than those who only sell firewalls.

The enhanced program is based on the following three pillars:

  • Profitability, to sell the platform built on the network, the end point and the cloud. In addition, for the first time in its history, Palo Alto Networks has implemented a discount program for its main partners (Diamond).
  • Optimization, automating and perfecting the processes that will make Palo Alto Networks easier to use.
  • Services that enable partners to offer advanced features and ensure that customers take full advantage of the technology of the company they have purchased. All partners should move to a service-oriented model, as services typically offer a margin of about 3x-4x products.
  • Other key changes to the partner program include:

  • reduce the number of levels from 4 to 3 by consolidating the two lowest levels;
  • more favorable registration incentives
  • incentives on SaaS renewals and subscription services;
  • managed services program; and
  • transformation services, including evaluation services, at the core of aftermarket optimization services.
  • Win-win-win for all parties in the case

    Changes to NextWave create a win-win-win situation for the vendor, partners, and customers. The value for Palo Alto Networks and its partners is obvious, as the former will sell more products and the latter will earn more money.

    Some customers may look at this and say to themselves, "Why should I worry about the dealer making more money?" In reality, this also presents a great benefit to customers. business. Security products are certainly not cheap and, despite millions of dollars spent each year, many businesses continue to fall behind. Changes to NextWave ensure that resellers help customers move to an agile security platform that can meet their current as well as future needs as things change.

    In addition, this ensures that customers take full advantage of the security dollars already spent by ensuring that they are properly deployed and that all features are used. This can be especially important with new cloud-based security, such as CASB (Cloud Access Security Brokers), where there are fewer best practices and many buttons and levers to adjust and adjust.

    The security industry as a whole is evolving and customers need to make sure they are evolving with it. They can not do it if the dealer they use is stuck in the old world. Updates to its partnership program ensure Palo Alto Networks' customers deploy the appropriate security tools to meet the demands created by the digital transformation.

    Zeus Kerravala is the founder and lead analyst of ZK Research. He spent 10 years at Yankee Group and had previously held several IT positions.