Earlier this year, erasure-as-a-service provider Blancco Technology Group signed a distribution agreement with Ingram Micro. While that agreement included the U.S., it did not include Canada at that time, although both parties were busy concluding a Canadian deal. That deal has now been finalized, and Blancco’s data erasure and mobile device diagnostics service is now available through Ingram in Canada. Blancco also announced that Softchoice has been signed on as a partner in their fledgling Canadian channel.
Blancco is Finnish in origin, although they now sell in 16 countries worldwide, and have been in business for 20 years. They provide organizations with a hardware and software platform for data erasure, including a digitally signed, tamper-proof certificate that verifies that sensitive data has been permanently erased and cannot be recovered. Their core market is regulated industries, and their audit trail is designed to satisfy many such regulations, including PCI DSS, HIPAA, EU GDPR, ISO 27001 and NIST 800-53.
Compliance laws are a key driver in Blancco’s business, and with the GDPR going into effect in Europe, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 having been passed, to go into effect in 2020, and Canada’s federal PIPEDA privacy law being expanded November 1, momentum on that front is strong.
“Other factors are also important but compliance is a huge component,” said Christina Walker, Global Director of Channel Sales and Programs at Blancco. “We do benefit from those laws. But we have other customers that use our erasure for large environments. Many take the position that certain data should not be retained for disaster recovery purposes for more than 30 days. There are other cases where policies are driven by the CISO or by the company.”
Blancco sold direct from the time of its inception in 1997, and the channel is a much more recent addition, with its channel program dating from 2015.
“We know that we are a small component in the security message, but we are a very important one,” Walker said. “We reached the point where we really need the channel to grow. We have grown the number of active partners globally this year by 105 per cent between July 1 and June 30.”
Erasure-as-a-service is still somewhat exotic in the market. That has both a positive and a negative side. On the negative side, the need to educate and evangelize customers about its value is Blancco’s major challenge in the market. On the positive side, partners do tend to get it.
“They instantly see the fit of an erasure service with an audit trail,” Walker indicated.
While a distributor like Ingram Micro often possesses expert technical capability on the offerings that they distribute, that wasn’t the case here with something newer like erasure service.
“Their people are also being trained themselves on erasure-as-a-service,” Walker said. “They didn’t know anything about it themselves when we started.”
The Ingram Micro relationship is focused largely around MSPs, although Blancco does work with some VARs like Softchoice.
“We want MSPs to be our voice in the market for a holistic security picture,” Walker said.
Blancco is not looking to Ingram Micro to enlist an army of partners for them, as they have much more of a value channel approach.
“We aren’t looking to Ingram Micro to bring us a ton of partners, but we are looking for the right partners,” Walker stated. “They are tagging us on to other vendors in the security space, and we go aligned together to talk to likely MSPs. We are finalizing arrangements with a major MSP now. One of their clients is a very large financial institution who they will provide with this service. We are also onboarding Softchoice to do erasure as a service.”
The go-to-market strategy with Ingram Micro in Canada is slightly different from the U.S.
“In the U.S., we aligned ourselves with the Advanced Solutions Group rather than security, because we resonate significantly in the data centres, and we thought that the data centre group would provide the fastest path to expansion,” Walker said. “In Canada, the strategy is different. We have started with their security alliance, where Ingram is attaching us with other security vendors.”
Blancco has a three-person office in Canada, with a country manager, a sales person and a sales engineer. While Blancco would like to expand in Quebec, none of their small staff are French-speaking.
“We are looking to the channel to provide that language component, Walker indicated.”
The Blancco relationship with Ingram in the U.S. has done well in its short tenure. On Monday, at the Ingram Micro ONE event in D.C., Blancco received the 2018 Emerging Vendor Award for Data Center due to overall revenue run rate and relationships made across Ingram Micro’s organization, as well as partner enablement activities.