... sit-down with its professional services team for an assessment.
“We want to have full confidence in them and to make sure, if we're telling our customers that these are the partners you should work with, that they're capable of delivering spectacular results," says Steranka. In return, McAfee provides branding to make sure top partners are recognized in the market as well as financial considerations, whether front-end investments in the business or rebates based on performance.
Keizer responds that MSPs and VARs are not on board with the trend toward more certifications.
“I co-chair the Partner Advisory Council for CompTIA, and just two weeks ago heard from partners around the country who voiced their opinion on this," he says. The problem? Cost, driven partly by the ongoing critical shortage of security expertise, partly by the internal effort of tracking certs. It all adds up to overhead.
Still, the upside for partners is receipt of some valuable services business leads.
“Margins in product-only for partners has been declining," says Steranka. “The majority of money right now … is in services, from implementation and deployment all the way through to managed security services. That’s becoming an increasingly larger part of our business."
Steranka says he’s seeing a shift in the partner community, with traditional resellers beginning to build services practices while selling and marketing white-label offerings. McAfee also has relationships with large pure-play MSSPs that he says are leveraging the OpenDXL platform to integrate specialized technologies that they feel are critical to their overall solution sets.
While he wouldn’t speculate on net margin gains for partners since McAfee announced its technology roadmap and strategic direction in 2015, Steranka says the future is clear.
“Services has always been rich, and I think also a keen way to differentiate yourself," he said. “When a partner's involved in a transaction and it's just sourcing, procurement departments are going to make the decision that's best for their business — which is, they're going to buy it at the lowest price because there's not a lot of value-add that goes with just pure delivery of product."
One-Stop Security Shop?
At Focus, CEO Young said that by the April spinoff, McAfee would be one of the largest pure-play security companies, employing 7,500 professionals, including 3,000 engineers and hundreds of threat researchers, and spending $500 million in R&D. The company holds more than 800 patents. While traditionally seen as an endpoint security specialist, Young insists he has an expansive vision, including data center and cloud defenses.
“The best is yet to come," said Young. “Don’t pigeonhole us based on our past."
That wide-ranging strategy hinges on ...