Move into DDoS market sparks new Corsa Technology partner program

Ottawa based Corsa makes a high-performance SDN platform for high capacity networks, and have recently added a network security platform to mitigate DDoS attacks.

Ottawa-based Corsa Technology has been making performance SDN switching and router platform for high capacity networks since 2012. Within the last year, they have expanded their platform into the Distributed Denial of Service space. That in turn has led to the launch of a partner program to build a channel to go after this market.

“Our original expertise was in software-defined networking,” said ‎Jason Pender, Senior Director Business Development at Corsa. “We developed a high performance switching and routing platform, our DP2000 platform, and in our first few years sold direct to the research and education community. That has been most of our revenue to date.” Their customers typically move over 50 petabytes of data per month.

“At the beginning of 2016, some customers who had bought the SDN platform asked if we had considered any security uses for it,” Pender said. “We looked at that market, and saw that one of the macro trends was the increase in the frequency and size of DDoS attacks. We moved into this space in 2017 with our Red Armor NSE7000 networking security product.”

Corsa’s Red Armour product

The 800-pound gorilla in the DDoS protection and mitigation space is Arbor Networks, with F5, A10 and Rackware also being significant players.

“Our solution is much more cost effective than any of these,” Pender said. “It is about 8x less expensive than Arbor and 3x less expensive than Rackware of A10. At these prices, we believe it is now realistic for Tier 2 carriers and hosted service companies – those who are large but not multi-national – to build their own DDS mitigation services rather than outsource them. Before it would have cost them $2-3 million to build a single scrubbing centre, but they can now do it for $300,000-$400,000. The cost benefits of doing that are very high for these regional carriers.”

Corsa wants to develop a broader channel to sell both the Corsa DP2000 and Red Armor NSE7000 series to this broader carrier market.

“There are three main drivers for the channel program,” Pender said. “The first is that substantial increase in the numbers of DDoS attacks. This is evidenced by the big companies that provided the outsourced services increasing their mitigation capacity. Neustar is increasing their capacity by 10x, and Akamai is talking about an 8x increase. The big players are seeing the trend.”

Pender identified the second trend as the increasing shortage of cybersecurity resources for the enterprise today.

“Because these companies can’t find or afford really good cybersecurity expertise, carriers and hosting providers are in a good spot with this to provide those services,” he said.

The third reason for the program is the compelling proposition for partners who have a SOC to add this additional service

“DDoS is very expensive and very lucrative for providers,” Pender said. “Service providers could be carriers, MSSPs, or MSPs, and we see that as our principal channel. A secondary channel would be VARs who already sell to carriers – specialist VARs.” Pender estimated that the average sale price of one of their solutions would be in the $150,000-$200,000 market.

Corsa is looking to create a select channel of about a couple dozen partners globally.

“We have a handful of partners today, 4 or 5, who we will rubber-stamp into the program,” Pender said. “We have another half dozen who we are in discussion with at some level today. Within the next quarter, we should have about a dozen signed. We have business in all regions of the world right now, so we need partners just to cover the geos.”

Pender indicated that the partner program doesn’t have any head-turning elements, simply what partners expect from an enterprise-grade security channel program.

“It provides what resellers would expect from a well-funded startup, and offers key benefits with expectations of performance,” he said. “The key here, as for any channel program, is to not make it complicated and confusing.”

The program has two tiers – Gold and Silver – with 35 and 25 per cent registered discounts respectively for hardware. The Silver Tier has a $500,000 target for the first year, with the Gold target being a million.

“Given the average deal price, for a Silver partner, that’s two or three sales a year,” Pender said.

The program has an onboarding process, provisions for ongoing knowledge transfer, and MDF funds, which will be concentrated on small focused events to meet with customers. Deal registration is managed in-house now by Corsa, but the plan is to build a proper partner portal so partners can register themselves.

Lead sharing is also a key part of the program.

“The nature of the market place for DDoS solution means that it will flow through the channel,” Pender said. “That means our intent over time is to be 100 per cent channel.”