DNS intelligence provider Farsight Security unveils first channel program for VARs

Farsight has had an OEM program to go to market with strategic vendor partners, but now is supplementing that with a new program to expand their reach further through the VAR channel. It formalizes a route to market that has been there before, but on an ad hoc and opportunistic basis.

Paull Dinerman, Farsight’s Vice President of Global Sales

San Mateo, CA-based DNS intelligence provider Farsight Security has launched their first channel program for resellers, Farsight PACE [Partnerships and Channel Ecosystem]. It complements an existing OEM program, and dovetails well with the nature of the skillset and services that Farsight provides.

“We are an observation company,” said Paull Dinerman, Farsight’s Vice President of Global Sales. “We have some very experienced DNS people, who came up with the ability to use both Passive DNS and Livestream DNS to strengthen security by understanding the mapping between IP addresses and domains. The important thing here from a security perspective is that the bad guys use the same infrastructure as us, so they leave a footprint behind – where they set up, where they post phishing attacks. We can watch them move around as they tear down phishing sites quickly so as not to get caught.”

Passive DNS is historic data, while livesteam covers the newly observed domains, and Dinerman said that it’s critical to cover both.

“It takes time for sites to develop a reputation, so if a company wants to make sure employees avoid troublesome sites, they will want them to avoid new sites that haven’t been vetted until a reputation is established,” he said. “Determining that is more of a livestream application. The historical data maps the behavior of miscreants to their environment. They are in a long game, so sometimes they park domains, tear them down and don’t go back for a year or two. Looking at their historic behaviour helps identify these patterns.”

Farsight’s role is to simply provide the data.

“We pass on the observations without judgement to our OEM partners, as we believe they are best suited for that,” Dinerman said. “Our role is to provide the best and purest form of DNS data, to make sure that our partners aren’t seeing duplication and noise, and that data arrives in a timely fashion. Essentially, we provide Big DNS Data for sophisticated SOCs.”

The goal of the new Farsight PACE program is to put that data in the hands of more people with the skills to use it.

“We have had plenty of channel partners in the past, but they have been signed up on an ad hoc basis and we have been too opportunistic,” he said. “The idea here is to get a consistent program out there to implement training, so that these resellers can leverage our technology. It gives them another upsell opportunity, a door opener for new customers, and a level of super-knowledge.”

Dinerman said that the time is appropriate now for the program.

“We’ve gotten to the point where DNS data is becoming more well understood,” he stated. “In our early years, we sold to labs and scientists. It’s now becoming more mainstream, and we can take advantage of this market awareness.”

Farsight is focusing on regional providers with trusted advisor relationships with the program.

“We are looking for true value-add partners with a portfolio of customers, boutique partners who specialize in security,” he said. “We are not looking to partner with people who just sell firewalls and routers. This is a sophisticated sale, involving SIEMs, SOARs and Big Data. It requires a lot of skill and knowledge.”

The program provides a formal way to transfer more of that knowledge.

“Partners need to understand what to expect from us, so having a formalized program gives them an understanding of what we will deliver,” Dinerman said. “As a smaller company, we can’t scale it otherwise.”

The plan is to start the program relatively small, and expand over time.

“We are looking at bringing in perhaps a dozen to two dozen partners,” Dinerman said. “We want to contain the number, so it doesn’t outpace our ability to service them. We can’t spread ourselves too thin, so won’t bite off more than we can chew. We also don’t want to have partners competing aggressively with each other. We will start with a few in each region, and make sure that the early adopters are well rewarded.”

The program will start with a single tier.

“It will be flat in this first phase,” Dinerman said. “This will be of advantage to some of the smaller partners. We do envision getting to tiering next year as we build out.”

Training, which encompasses both technical training for engineers and sales training for sales people, is available out of the gate.

“Down the road, we will introduce certifications as well,” Dinerman said.

A full marketing system still has to be structured, but plans are already in place to do regional events with VAR partners.

“Some of our OEMs also have ‘Powered by Farsight’ integrations, and we expect that will also be available to VAR partners,” Dinerman indicated.

Free direct technical support will be available to partners, as it is to customers.

“They have a dedicated team assigned to them, and they can establish a ticket with our customer service organization,” Dinerman said.

DInerman said the VAR program will be integrated fully within the other elements of the go-to-market strategy.

“We have structured our own sales people with a compensation-neutral plan so they will work with the channel,” he said. “We can also envision situations where we have an OEM and a VAR working together, and we can partner with both in a significantly-sized engagement.”