In the past, many Symantec partners that have come across managed security service opportunities have turned the leads over to Symantec and been rewarded with a referral fee, but for the company to truly play a strong role in the business, it needs to rely on channel partners, said Randy Cochran, vice president of channel sales for the Americas at Symantec. The security vendor has many partners that do specialize in managed security services, and the new specialization will help them stand out as experts in the area.
“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,” Cochran said during a media roundtable at Symantec Partner Engage here.
To go after the market, Symantec needs managed security services to be partner-led, and that means educating partners on the offerings and having them do more than gain referral fees. Experts in the field can now gain the MSS Specialization. To gain the new specialization, 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. Partners must also meet defined profile requirements and complete training and accreditation requirements. Also required is a rolling business plan and a commitment to joint account planning and quarterly opportunity reviews.
The launch of this new specialization came as a result of partner requests, Cochran explained. Managed security services have typically played in the medium and large business customer base, but with the launch of the MSS Specialization, such services should move further down the stack, he said.
“Partners are always vocal about what they want, and it was a good request,” Cochran said.
Partners that don’t fit the requirements or simply aren’t interested in developing expertise in managed security services are being encouraged to partner with MSS specialists when opportunities arise. That plays well to a common theme running throughout the day at Partner Engage — that partner-to-partner relationships (or co-opetition) are becoming increasingly necessary in the ever-expanding IT world.
“There could be a play there for a partner to help execute the mitigation strategies,” said Fred Patterson, director of channel sales at Symantec Canada.
Partners that achieve specializations within the Symantec Partner Program are incented with an opportunity registration program, sales and technical resources, tailored promotions and other tools and incentives.