Bitdefender’s New Channel Chief: Ease of Doing Business Top Priority

Data Center hacker

Bitdefender‘s new global channel chief says he wants to make the cybersecurity company’s partner program even more successful and add more personnel to support partners.

Joe Sykora, formerly with Fortinet, recently was appointed vice president of worldwide channel development, responsible for relationships with the company’s more than 7,000 reseller partners globally.

Providing protection to 500 million users, Bitdefender recently was valued by Vitruvian Partners, an independent European private equity firm that acquired a stake in the company, at more than $600 million.

Bitdefender's Joe Sykora

Bitdefender’s Joe Sykora

The Romania-based company’s enterprise solutions headquarters is in in Santa Clara, California, and as a result, more than 40 percent of sales are generated in the United States, which continues to be the company’s fastest growing region.

Bitdefender said Sykora’s appointment is part of its ongoing investment in increasing channel efforts and advancing its channel program. The company is transitioning from a regional to a global structure, allowing for standardization and consistency of structure, benefits and governance, while still allowing for customization to meet each region’s unique needs, it said.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Sykora talks about his plans for Bitdefender’s partner program and shares his insights on the breach-filled cybersecurity landscape.

Channel Partners:  What have you been doing since starting this new role?

Joe Sykora: Really getting out in the field and meeting our partners, both existing Bitdefender partners and also some of our potential partners that have expressed an interest. So I’ve been meeting with all of them and I’ve been spending time with our distributors, and that’s all on a global basis. So I have been on the road traveling every single week.

CP: What’s your take on Bitdefender’s current channel strategy? Do you have changes in mind?

JS: The Bitdefender program has always been strong. The program itself is a very partner-friendly, channel-friendly program, so I’m not looking to make any changes per se. Really the key item that I’m looking to put more resources in is ease of doing business. I always want to make sure that our partners are getting what they need and it’s easy for them to get those resources. So we’ll continue to add resources, both in head count — people to take care of our partners … along with increased MDF so we’re increasing that marketing strength. And then investing in those who invest in us. I think they should be rewarded financially, and also, if we can make them a better partner, that’s the main goal for us. Different regions obviously mean different things because I do cover the global channel and global distribution, so things are a little bit different in Europe and Asia, but it’s all the same — the program itself is a very solid program. I really like what was done with deal registration, (which) is a 20 percent additional margin for our partners no matter what level. So even a developing partner can get a really good competitive advantage if they bring us into a deal.

CP: How will your past experience working with the channel come into play in your new role?

JS: I’ve been on both sides of the channel. I actually started out on the partner side a little over 20 years ago, so I got to see firsthand channel-partner programs that were not only …

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