The Australian arm of security vendor, Check Point Software, has claimed the company’s new worldwide initiative to rank channel partners into tiers stemmed from the success of its local model.
Check Point announced its new global partner program in the US this month.
The new Valued Partner Program splits partners into platinum, gold, silver and bronze groups. Each category allows varying levels of access to products, order processing and education facilities, according to product skills and investment in technical training.
Commenting on the US-based announcement, Check Point regional director for Australia and New Zealand, Scott Ferguson, said the company’s Australian branch had always stratified its relations with the channel into tiers.
While the move to a tiered structure was different from the business model previously upheld by the US, the new program would operate similarly to the partner program instituted by the local team 18 months ago.
“Australia had a lot of input on the new [worldwide] partner programs,” Ferguson said. “The announcement is a validation of what was being done locally … [it’s] an extension of what Australia does today.”
According to Ferguson, Check Point already divided Australian and New Zealand partners into three distinct groups: premier, authorised and product partners. Which fall into what category was dependent on their level of technical expertise in Check Point products rather than total sales count.
“We learnt different channels need different levels of ability to sell products,” he said. “A partner’s status is based on competency and capability. [We look at] their number of people trained, what processes they have in place to support customers, and their ability to create a security policy for the customer.”
In order to qualify at the vendor’s highest premier partner level, Ferguson said resellers were required to be certified as a Check Point Security Partner, as well as maintain a technical support team to assist customers.
As a reward, these partners were given early access to information relating to the vendor’s product releases, services and training as well as priority order processing.
Check Point’s current premier partners include CSC, IBM, Dimension Data and Alphawest.
Authorised Check Point partners — such as Data #3, BCA and Gen-i — are then authorised to sell the company’s more general range of client-based products, he said. The company also maintains general product partners.
In line with the new global program, the local Check Point business will look to rename its partner tiers as platinum, gold, silver and bronze early next year, he said.
“The issue is not to confuse the market today,” he said. “Throughout the rest of this year, we’ll work to rationalise the programs together.”
In the meantime, the company has been working on delivering a telco-specific program to assist partners in providing a managed security program for telecoms and networking customers.