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Check Point Software Pursuing New Customers, Verticals with Global Partners

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Edward Gately**Editor’s Note: Click here for images, highlights and a recap from CPX17.**

Check Point Software Technologies’ channel chief for the Americas has been busy listening to partners as the cybersecurity vendor continues to evolve its partner program in response to feedback.

Kurt Speck has been Check Point’s head of channel sales for the Americas for nearly nine months. He previously was FireEye’s vice president of Americas West/Latin America. Check Point created his position as part of its strategy for “increased commitment to our partners in terms of our growth strategy and execution,” he said.

Check Point's Kurt SpeckDuring last week’s Check Point Experience 2017 (CPX17) conference in Las Vegas, the vendor unveiled its new Infinity cybersecurity architecture. Check Point said Infinity is the first consolidated security across networks, cloud and mobile, providing “unparalleled threat prevention to keep customers protected against the growing number of cyberattacks.” It also announced new capabilities and features within the Infinity architecture.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Speck gives an update on Check Point’s partner program and channel strategy, and explains why 2017 is shaping up to be the vendor’s biggest year yet.

Channel Partners: What’s the status of Check Point’s partner program? How many partners do you have and what types of companies are they?

Kurt Speck: Our Stars Program is based on certifications, revenue, both in terms of product revenues specifically and total, and then the overall technical capabilities as [they] relate to certifications and training in terms of the various different levels. That’s our program, and so far it’s very well received by our partners. The program itself … is mainly focused on new customer acquisition and emerging technologies for us. And emerging technologies being what we call the future of cybersecurity — so cloud, mobile and advanced threat prevention.{ad}

And as far as partners, we have over 5,000 globally, and they range from global SIs to global MSPs, to then the various different key regions – Asia, Europe and the Americas – in terms of VARs, and then on through to both the national and regional level, and then … with distributors and distribution. So the full spectrum as far as the channel and type of partners, ranging from large multibillion-dollar companies on down to regional partners and national distributors across the board.

CP: Have there been changes made to CheckPoint’s channel strategy in recent months?

KS: There’s a continued focus and commitment to our partners in the channel, and me being brought on as far as running the channel in the Americas is just that, increased commitment to our partners and our overall channel. So I was brought on to continue success, and enhance and grow our overall partners and channel program with, again, commitment and execution.

Also as far as changes made in recent months, we’re focused very much on the execution with our partners in partner enablement for them, so improved and increased training for our partners to help them with enablement and to help them with their growth overall —and then that relates to Infinity.

CP: How does Infinity fit into Check Point’s channel strategy? What types of new opportunities does it provide for partners?

KS: It’s about a broader set of solutions and value to the end customer. So it’s expanding their opportunities in the market across the board. Before was more of a point-solution focus in terms of selling, and Infinity is helping unify the complete solution for the end customer. And it’s not just branding. There’s quite a bit behind it in terms of our overall management platform and single-pane-of-glass capabilities, and the orchestration that we’ve developed internally while many of our competitors are trying to acquire orchestration capabilities.

So that’s a big difference relative to being able to sell these solutions as an integrated, unified architecture platform versus point solutions previously.

CP: What sort of feedback have you received from partners? What are they telling you about the partner program? Do they want to see changes?

KS: Feedback is overwhelmingly positive and partners are very excited relative to Infinity as part of that, but also about invigorating our overall partner program, and in terms of the support and enablement that we’re now providing them, and the high touch that we’re now providing to our partners across the board. And we’ve established a channel advisory board in the last six months to listen more closely to our partners, and work more closely with them and collaborate with them. That’s very well received. And we’re taking greater input from our partners and working with them to adjust to their business models and spanning various different markets and different verticals across the board, from enterprise on through to commercial markets. We continue to take feedback from our partners and evolve our partner program. We’ve listened, and that’s the focus on new customer acquisition and incentives that are based on the unified architecture and the emerging technologies.

CP: Is 2017 a big year for Check Point and its partners? If so, how?

KS: This is a very big year for our partners — a record year as we continue to grow overall. And the more that we continue to work together, the higher growth that we’re experiencing. And in terms of the marketplace … we’ve become more relevant with our partners than ever before in terms of the margins that they can make, and the focus on increasing their margins and profitability. I believe our partners are viewing 2017 as their best year yet with Check Point and especially as it relates to our partners and our overall commitment to them.

We’re seeing very high growth in the commercial markets, but also within enterprise — so both. And our commitment and growth in these areas will remain strong. In addition … from financial services to health care, government and high tech, we’ll continue to focus on those verticals.

We are a very services channel-friendly company as part of our strategy in terms of our partners. So the opportunity for our partners to grow their business, their Check Point business, as well as their Check Point services business, is significant, which in turn allows them to grow their margins significantly. So for us, our partners have the opportunity to grow their training, their deployment, their managed services for Check Point to enhance their margins overall. We have programs and incentives for our partners to grow their services business significantly in a very collaborative fashion versus competitors where they often compete with the vendor for services business. It’s a big incentive for them to grow their business and in turn grow their overall margins for Check Point.

CP: What do you think Check Point’s channel strategy will look like in three to five years?

KS: Certainly our goal is to evolve our partner program to be a best-in-class global program and to be the best-in-class standard for partners in terms of profitability, margins and growth; and to have the best-in-class programs and incentives for our partners to grow as they move forward.


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