Fidelis Cybersecurity embraces channel-first mentality in restructured partner program

New channel chief Eddie DeWolfe said that while Fidelis has not been consistent on channel policy in the past, the company’s new CEO and executive team is now firmly committed to being channel focused.

Eddie DeWolfe, Fidelis’ Vice President of Global Channels and Alliances

Fidelis Cybersecurity has announced a series of improvements to its Fidelis Partner Program. While significant in themselves, the company is emphasizing the broader meaning behind them. While historically, Fidelis has not been consistently committed to the channel, particularly in North America, they are now stressing that their new leadership has embraced the channel as the key to Fidelis’ ability to scale effectively.

“Fidelis Cybersecurity’s Elevate platform is the culmination of a standalone deception layer technology, a standalone endpoint protection technology and a standalone networking visibility and protection technology,” said Eddie DeWolfe, Fidelis’ Vice President of Global Channels and Alliances. DeWolfe was named to the role last November, but his hiring is just being formally announced now.

“We strive to be best of breed in everything that we do, and in the way that all three components come together in the Elevate platform, there is no one else that does that,” he said. “All three components talk to each other, and share information, which leads to a better and quicker co-ordination on threats.”

The enterprise is the company’s sweet spot, although they have an MDR [Managed Detection and Response] service for customers who can’t run the platform.

“We also provide incident response, threat hunting and data science as services, and through them we can work with smaller companies, although our target market is the enterprise,” DeWolfe said.

Fidelis has worked with the channel for years, but it has not been consistent in the past.

“Different markets have matured at different rates as far as the channel is concerned,” DeWolfe indicated. “The federal business and EMEA are 100 per cent channel. The North American business has been the weakest for the channel historically, although I’m working really hard to change that. We have about 150 reseller partners, and what I’m trying to do is bring focus to that. We aren’t REALLY working with 150 reseller partners, as many aren’t active.”

Some of the inactive partners are desirable ones, who lost interest as Fidelis went through a period of instability.

“The company has gone through several iterations,” DeWolfe indicated. “We were a private company. Then we were bought by General Dynamics. Then we were sold to a private equity firm. There were several changes in leadership during all this. As a result we lost some tracton with the strong partnerships we had. We are re-engaging with key partners and getting them back up to speed on what we do. We are not looking to onboard a lot more new partners, but we do want the right number in the right regions to support our salespeople.”

DeWolfe said that the move to a much more channel-friendly focus came from the appointment of Nick Lantuh as CEO in April 2018.

“There were pieces in place before, but the real change was in the sales philosophy,” DeWolfe indicated. “North America before was not a channel-first mentality. When the new CEO came in, he brought a channel-first mentality, saying that this was the only way that we could scale. We have lofty ambitions around where we want to be in the market. Every company has some monetary constraints, whether they are bootstrapped or well funded by VCs. We understand the ins and outs of growing a business, and we understand the channel. To reach our goals, we need to use the channel. We agreed as a company that we have to make a commitment to be a channel first company.”

DeWolfe was brought on board to a channel leader position that was broader in authority than it had been before, and he set about redesigning the partner program. Part of that involved making a commitment to having a consistent global program.

“Overarching it all is the commitment to the channel,” he said. “The old program was single tier, and there were no partner levels. Margin was done on a case by case basis.” It was not what would be expected in a modern program, but the company generally did well, so there was no momentum to change it.

“The program now has three tiers, based on sales, with escalating margins,” De Wolfe indicated. “The tiers are important because they protect our strategic partners and those who bring in deals.” While there was deal registration in the old program, the margins have gone up. All levels in the program are eligible for MDF, and the top two tiers, in North America, for co-op funds.

“Requirements for sales and SE certification are now built into the program,” DeWolfe “Computer-based learning and certification are now underway.” The training includes both self-paced online and instructor-led classes.

DeWolfe emphasized that the partner program changes are part and parcel of the new commitment to the channel.

“That’s our biggest message here,” he said. “Fidelis, especially in North America, was never known as a channel-focused company, but it is one now.”

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