Russia's Kaspersky Lab announced a partnership with global technology distributor Ingram Micro, in a deal it hopes will expand its reseller base and put it more on par with security giants Symantec and McAfee.
Stephen Orenberg, president of Kaspersky Lab Americas, said that the decision to partner with Ingram Micro developed when the company’s larger partners began asking for alternative distribution outlets. The company’s growth had also reached a point that warranted that kind of worldwide access, he said.
“It became clear to us as a company about six months ago that while the existing partners are happy with our distribution strategy, our partner and disty ecosystem, a subset of existing partners said that they’d like to have a couple of other options,” Orenberg said.
At the outset, Kaspersky executives maintain that the newly struck partnership with Ingram Micro will enable the company to forge new paths into the enterpise. It will also give the company broader access to a more expansive reseller base, allowing them to develop new relationships with solution providers who prefer to work with the large-scale distributor, executives said.
“It’s known that Ingram has world-class software capabilities as a distributor,” said Gary Abad, Kaspersky Lab vice president of North American channels. “We feel that with our selected recruitment, we do want much better partnerships. Ingram provides that for us. It gives us more reach and to a broader base of folks.
In general, partners regard the partnership as one that gives them a wider array of options.
“We now have a choice in distribution,” said Todd Leidner, vice president of operations at Intelek Technologies, a Norman, Okla.-based solution provider. “Anything that makes it easier to do business with a vender is an A+ in my book.”
Pete Greco, vice president of sales and technology for Productive, a Minneapolis, Minn.-based security solution provider, said that the Ingram partnership “creates another efficiency.” Greco said that Productive had already cultivated solid relationships with a longstanding account at Ingram, adding that he prefers to work with the global distributor because it streamlines processes, maximizes the company’s profit line and provides good pricing.
“Efficiency is the number one thing for us,” Greco said. “We would have signed up to be a Kaspersky partner regardless, but that helps your chances of getting on our line card.”
While Orenberg said that the deal would likely “share shift” from some of the company’s other distributors, he contended that the time was right for Kaspersky Lab to partner with a distributor that had Ingram’s global access. Currently, Kaspersky’s existing distribution partners include TechData, D&H, as well as Computerlinks and Synnex in Canada.
“If we were to do this much earlier, it wouldn’t have made sense,” Orenberg said. “Things are moving quickly for us.”
Privately held Kaspersky Lab experienced a 60 percent growth rate year-over-year from 2009 to 2010, and hoped to maintain a growth rate that is “two to three times of what the market is doing,” Orenberg said.
For its fourth quarter, Symantec reported a nine percent year-over-year revenue increase from the year ago period.
Next: Kaspersky Lab Prepared For GrowthThe Ingram partnership could give the company the boost it needs to be more on par with some of its biggest competitors, which include security giants Symantec and McAfee, now a part of Intel.
“Year over year, we have grown exponentially,” Orenberg said. “We want to grow and we feel we can continue to grow faster than our competitors. That may change year to year, as obviously there’re a lot of external factors. But regardless of what those external factors are, our goal is to be the fastest growing company in our space. We’ve been able to do that every year.”
Abad said that as the company grows, he still planned to maintain the sense of “small company” intimacy by proportionately growing the company’s channel management team, which in turn would be capable of providing personalized attention for partners.
“One of the primary areas of growth has been the channel organization. My team has grown to accommodate this kind of growth. I have a regional channel management team solely focused on partner developer and partner management,” Abad said, adding that the company makes a distinction between its resellers, those who primarily sell Kaspersky products, and partners -- gold and platinum solution providers that provide value by driving new opportunities.
“With open distribution, a lot of folks can call up. We build great expertise there, and from there we have a pretty good reseller base,” he said. “On the partner side, we have less than 100 partners in North America. If I grow that number to another 20 or 30 partners, I’m going to be pretty happy.”