Imperva brings new partner program to Australia

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This article appeared in the April 2019 issue of CRN magazine.

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Imperva brings new partner program to Australia
Martin Cerantonio

Application and data security vendor Imperva recently launched its partner program in Australia. We sat down with local channel chief Martin Cerantonio to chat about what the program entails.

Channel program

The channel has always been very active at Imperva prior to this partner program launch. We launched the partner program in EMEA and the US, but without having a channel team in Australia, there wasn’t anyone to own that. So me joining eight-nine months ago was the catalyst to start formerly driving the program out into the channel.

It came about from working over the past six months to construct a localised channel program that is something that will help partners around the commercial aspects of driving revenue and enablement.

The key thing with this program is how it will help partners’ understanding as to how we do business and we can scale using the channel.

The program

We have four tiers: associate, silver, gold and platinum. The associate is entry level for helping you build your practice and then as you climb the tiers, it’s about how you build that practice out, the investments you’ve made and the shared focus with us.

There’s three different versions of our FlexProtect product: one for application protection, one for data protection, and the other is a combination of the two. That’s broken into three editions, Pro, Plus and Premier, and within those are capabilities for application protection, data protection or both.

Enablement is a huge part of the program as well. We run a number of workshops to train our partners. There’s also formal training from our partner portal as well as instructor-led classroom training and a number of certifications they can attend, depending on what status or tier they want to be, from either a sales or delivery perspective.

Why now?

Now that data is the new oil, people are mining for data. The attention to security or data breaches is becoming more apparent. Each organisation will have a specific set of risks that are aligned to data breaches that they will need addressed, these risks can be aligned to revenue loss, IP loss, and brand or even moving vehicles around. Our focus partners will be well-placed to help identify these risks.

Product

If you’re accessing an application on your phone and people are trying to access your data, then we’ve got you covered from a web application firewall perspective or from a DDoS attack. If there’s a line of code that’s suspicious, we can pick that up and report on it from within the application.

Selective partnerships

Security is changing, it is not about just stopping the threat at the perimeter anymore, it’s about having visibility into who is accessing your data and what they are doing with it. The ability to report on the breach in real time mitigates the risk and helps reduce it and block it. In other words, buying down on that risk.

Rather than going wide, we’re saying that we want to work with core partners, whether that’s five, six or seven, the number’s not determined yet, but it’s about having focused partners that we will work very closely with.

We’re not just looking for partners that are selling an endpoint, it’s really about having partners that understand our end-to-end solution. We’re also looking at digital partners that understand cloud migrations and where data is stored. It’s not about having a lot of partners, it’s about having the right partners, whether it’s an MSSP or system integrator.

Customers

We play in a lot of different verticals, FSI has been core for us, but we are starting to see our solutions adopted in healthcare, state and federal government and insurance.

Basically anyone that has data or an edge could be a customer of ours. Especially those that have a lot of data. Healthcare, for example; they’re changing the way they work with their customers and leaning more towards a digital economy in websites and applications, where patients want to be able to make online appointments or look at their medical records.

This poses a risk of a data breach and organisations should be able to buy down on that risk.

Challenges

There’s always challenges in growing an ecosystem and a channel. Some of the biggest challenges are just getting awareness out into the market to let them know we’re a new Imperva and just getting that momentum.

The program is one of the ways we get that awareness to the channel and get across the mindset that we’re not just about application protection anymore, there’s this platform that we sell.

When we lead, we never lead with product. We lead with talking about risk and how you can buy down on that risk, so educating the channel around that is always a journey and it takes time to do that.

Lessons learned

Channel is about trust and enabling that trust. My job is building that trust with channel partners so they know we’re there to support them and we have their best interest at heart to drive their business.

When there’s that two-way trust, not only externally from the partner but internally from staff, that’s when you get a really functioning and enabled channel that helps to drive business.

Looking ahead

We will see the partner program mature and expand into the consulting firms, working with them on how to buy down on risk and mapping that to the regulations such as CPS234 and BEAR. The program will also expand with a focus on service delivery capabilities for our partners and a focus on digital.

We have already invested in key verticals with our partners and we see further investment in other verticals, such as health, as we see more regulations released around data in Australia.

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