Mike Conlon, ThreatTrack’s new vice president of Global Channels.
By Mark Cox
ThreatTrack Security, which began life as Sunbelt Software, was acquired by GFI Software in 2010 and spun off into its own company three years later, is no stranger to the VAR channel. That channel, however, has been primarily for the company’s SMB-focused VIPRE anti-virus solution. Their channel for their enterprise solutions, particularly for the ThreatSecure threat prevention and remediation offering, was much more limited. Addressing that limitation is the top priority of Mike Conlon, ThreatTrack’s new vice president of Global Channels.
Conlon has a long channel background in unified communications and video, including Tandberg and most recently Polycom, where he rose to worldwide channel chief before leaving the company and the sector entirely earlier this year.
“I’ve now been on board two months and my plan is very simple – build a go-to-market strategy for ThreatSecure around distribution and the VAR community, including everywhere from small mom and pops to global SIs,” Conlon said.
Conlon noted that ThreatTrack had already developed a successful channel for the SMB-focused VIPRE, but that it was of little practical use for selling ThreatSecure.
“We have gone from 30% to 70-80% on the channel side with VIPRE in the last 12-18 months,” Conlon said. “But these partners are on the AV side of the house. ThreatSecure is for the enterprise, and there is only a very small overlap between the two sides. I estimate that only 2-3% of VIPRE partners can sell ThreatSecure and support it on the back end.”
Conlon rapidly concluded that building a ThreatSecure channel required distribution, even though they are not looking to build a large volume channel, particularly because he does not have a large team under him who could manage this internally. To this end, they are announcing their first distribution deal, with Global Convergence Inc. (GCI), to distribute ThreatSecure, although Conlon says it will not be the last.
“I’ve looked at multiple distributors,” he said. “GCI is very seasoned, has a heavy enterprise focus, have great relationships with partners, and are focused on emerging technologies, so that was a no-brainer. They will be a great boutique distributor for us across North America.”
Conlon noted that they have a very clear profile of the typical partner they want to do business with across North America.
“We don’t want to commodify, so we are not looking for hundreds of partners there,” he said. “15-20 partners across North America with deep, solid relationships with the distributor will be good at the beginning.”
Conlon said he intends to bring two other distributors on board swiftly.
“We are looking at another federally-focused distributor, which is smaller, but which has deep relationships with the partner community and end customers in the [U.S. federal] government,” he said. ThreatTrack does have a federal presence now, but Conlon said they are primarily customers of their ThreatAnalyzer product line, not the more robust ThreatSecure products.
“I’m focused on the ThreatSecure products,” he said. “Our federal practice there will take a number of years to build.”
The other distributor target is a much larger one.
“This is a larger global distributor, although we are looking to start with them in North America,” Conlon said. “They are attractive to us not because they can sign up 1000 partners tomorrow. It’s because they are global and can leverage that. They have a couple competitive products to us in their product suite now. That helps us, that their partner base handles competitive products, so they already know how to position this kind of offering.”
The goal to have both these additional distributors on board is the end of August, Conlon said.
Conlon said they have a Partner Program for ThreatSecure in place, which is completely separate from the AV program, and that he expects it will appeal to prospective partners.
“Our Accelerate Partner Program has three tiers – Authorized, Gold and Platinum – but it helps build profitability a little differently,” he said. “While our marketing support varies by tier, we offer a standard discount regardless of partner type, as deal registration is where the big profit comes into play. We are also putting in back-end benefits that Gold and Platinum will earn, based on quarterly performance, that I don’t think anyone else in the industry provides.”
The ThreatSecure program is also offering what Conlon called a very aggressive limited term additional partner incentive.
“If they register an opportunity, and we approve it and it closes before December, both the sales rep and the SE will get between $1000 and $1200 each, depending on the appliance.
“All these benefits and our marketing dollars give us a very aggressive program for partners to work with ThreatTrack Security,” Conlon said.