MSSP Pondurance rolls out high-touch partner program to build select partner channel

Pondurance is looking for mid-market focused MSPs, and while their specialized consulting services work on a referral model, partners can resell their MDR offerings.

Mike Childs, sales operations manager at Pondurance

Indianapolis-based MSSP Pondurance is looking to augment its reach in additional regions, with the introduction of a partner program designed to recruit and support a select number of MSPs who have a midmarket focus.

“We were founded in 2008, and have been in business for over 10 years, growing to be a company of just over 60 employees,” said Mike Childs, sales operations manager at Pondurance. “We did business originally in Indiana and have now established ourselves throughout the US, with some in Europe and Asia. We now have over 200 clients. We have a good presence in the health care business, which is close to 60 per cent of our overall business in MDR [managed detection and response]  and consulting. We also have considerable experience in the finance, manufacturing and education verticals, and have started doing work with utilities.”

In addition to their deep focus on the health care vertical, Pondurance sees its consulting services as a differentiator for them.

“With our consulting and advisory business, we are able to help clients get their arms around the full gamut of cybersecurity requirements,” Childs said. “We understand the regulatory environment very well and how that impacts what you do from an MDR standpoint. Many companies don’t have that background.” They offer a range of services around threat hunting and response, compliance, information security defenses, and business continuity.

Childs described Pondurance’s sweet spot as primarily midmarket companies.

“We have customers from 250-300 employees up to several thousands,” he said. “We do have a handful of customers outside of that range, including one in health care with over 30,000, and at the other end we have some technology companies with 80-120 people, but who have very unique needs.”

This is Pondurance’s first systematic effort to plan out a strong channel strategy.

“We have been kicking the idea around for a while, and we have done it in the past a couple of times in fits and starts, and haven’t had much success,” Childs said. “That was because we didn’t really fully define what the program should look like, and didn’t define what the ideal partners should look like until recently. We have been doing what has been more ad hoc partnering.”

This time, Childs said that Pondurance is much more focused on what they want in a channel partner, with a strong mid-market focus being critical.

“We think that it doesn’t make sense to get into partnership with companies who are working the sub-100 market, and on the other hand, there aren’t many people who provide these services at the enterprise level,” he said. “There aren’t a lot of MSPs that serve that midmarket – comparatively. There are many more that serve smaller companies.

“We are also looking for companies who cover geo areas where we don’t have a lot of market penetration yet, where we can expand our reach where we don’t have the resources yet,” Childs added. “There is also a soft factor – companies who have a similar culture to ours – culture that’s all about doing best for the customer, even when the customer doesn’t know what’s best for them.”

The program itself has both referral and resale components, and is supported by marketing collateral, pricing tools, secure communication, training, and other resources available through a Partner Resource Portal.

“The referral piece is around the consulting and advisory work,” Childs said. “Engagements around things like PCI and high tech have to be contracted with certified providers, and so those are referral opportunities. However, the MDR work can be done on a referral basis, but also is available as a resale option for partners. It’s a good opportunity for 18-20 per cent margins.”

Out of the gate, channel partners include Advanticom, Virtusa, and KSM Consulting, and the initial goal is to get to ten partners.

“That initial number is low because we want to make sure we can manage and support those partners as we roll the program out,” Childs said. “The intent is to grow it further from that point, although still fairly selectively.”

Childs also stressed that this will be a high-touch partner program.

“I and my team will be available to make sales calls with their people, either in person or remote, depending on schedules,” he said. “Senior engineers will be available to support, depending on staff. We plan to keep that high touch approach to make sure partners are successful.”

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