Cyberbit Launches Partner Program With Channel Vet Thomas at Helm

Internet security

Lorna Garey**Editor’s Note: Click here for a list of recent important channel-program changes you should know.**

Cyberbit, a cybersecurity spinoff of Israeli military defense giant Elbit Systems that’s been doing business in the United States for about six months, announced Tuesday the formal launch of its North America channel program. Stephen Thomas, Cyberbit’s VP of sales, said the company is looking to work with MSSPs, VARs, distributors and consultants and that sales are 100-percent through the channel.

Cyberbit's Stephen Thomas“We don’t intend to do any business direct,” said Thomas. “We have a strong desire to build very, very good, long-tenured relationships in the partner community.”

For now, the company has just a few dozen resellers and a limited list of technology relationships, including with HPE for its ArcSight SIEM. But Thomas, who was previously Symantec’s VP of channel sales, says he expects rapid growth, with the company projected to double or triple in size by 2017.

Thomas calls margins “in line with” competing security programs but says it’s difficult to generalize because the company offers diverse solutions: endpoint detection and response (EDR), SOC automation and orchestration, a cyber range training and simulation platform, and industrial control/SCADA system security. {ad}

Channel partners will likely be most familiar with the hyper-competitive EDR space. Eric Parizo, senior analyst, enterprise security at Current Analysis, says that with more than two dozen competing EDR vendors, Cyberbit needs to significantly incentivize prospective partners to attract interest.

“On a basic level, it must have a good answer when solution providers ask, ‘Well, why should I sell your stuff when it’s easier and roughly as lucrative to sell Cylance? Or Carbon Black? Or SentinelOne?’” said Parizo.

Thomas acknowledges that reality but is banking on the company’s channel-centric focus to attract resellers.

“We’re going hard with and for partners,” Thomas said. “That’s first and foremost.” He also cites the maturity of Cyberbit’s technology versus what partners might get from a startup.

“You got two guys and two girls in a truck and they got some funding,” he said. “For Cyberbit, these aren’t technologies where a partner’s going to have to wonder if they work. It will prove out. These are technologies that are in place at very large nation states and companies around the globe.”

The other piece is …


… the diversity of the company’s portfolio.

“We give partners the ability to pivot into OT [operational technology] security in a very easy manner, if they’re already doing asset management,” said Thomas, specifically calling out verticals like pharmaceuticals.

Finally, the Cyber Range training offering helps customers retain and grow talent by offering hands-on exercises for IT security teams and business leaders. A partner could replicate its own or a customer’s network setup and security-tools lineup and simulate typical traffic, so trainees receive realistic drills. Attack scenarios include ransomware variants.   

“That’s driving value from an HR retention perspective,” said Thomas.

Current Analysis’ Parizo also sees the attack simulation offerings as an easier sell for partners, given the dire shortage of cybersecurity incident responders.

“There’s an opportunity for partners because there’s certainly a need for customized, easy-to-implement, effective training processes,” Parizo said. “Any solutions that ease the process of getting new staff trained and functional more quickly have value. That said, it’s a challenge as well because it’s not a set-and-forget offering — it’s going to require a fair bit of hand-holding, customization and supplemental training, and while that has the potential to be lucrative, not all partners will be capable of taking that on.”

Thomas says there are MSSP offerings in the works for the EDR suite and SOC 3G orchestration platform, and the company is actively pursuing those relationships to help customers with the scarcity of data-security analysts.

“We’re looking for partners who can offer first-line support for us,” he said. “We can help MSSP partners stay sticky.”

Thomas says most partners will work with the company’s deal registration mechanism, and that they’re largely license focused, with payment on first-year value.

“It’s essentially a reseller program with enhanced margins,” he said. There are currently no tiers and no accreditation requirements, though Thomas says that is on his road map. “We’re welcoming all comers,” he said.

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