Menlo is building out a select channel of partners with a deep expertise in both security and the cloud.
Today, Palo Alto-based Menlo Security, which uses isolation technology to provide Zero Trust cloud-based security, is launching the BOOST! Channel Program, its first partner program. It will be managed by Danielle Wilson, their newly-hired Director of North America Channels.
Menlo Security is a startup, founded in 2013, which just concluded a large $75 million series D round. Their isolation-based technology provides airgapped security on a default-deny model that assumes that everything is dangerous. Several companies have entered this space. They are typically small ones, although one, Luminate, was acquired by Symantec.
Menlo Security’s particular isolation technology s removes the viewing of email attachments and web browsing from the desktop and moves it to the cloud, thus separating the network the public Web.
“Our platform isolates and executes Web content in the cloud,” Wilson said. “The user gets true native experience of the Web or email, and it is all transparent to the user. Its an ideal secure cloud transformation solution, with the adoption of SaaS and enterprises struggling to transform their infrastructure.”
Menlo has emphasized its presence in the high end of the enterprise, including seven of the 10 largest banks, four of the five largest credit-card issuers and some of the largest energy and transportation companies in the world. It’s not purely an enterprise play though.
“This type of technology does filter down to the midmarket and the SMB, particularly through MSSP partners,” Wilson indicated.
Wilson has worked in channel management roles at multiple security vendors, including LogRhythm, FireMon, Fortinet and Gigamon. Previous to that, she worked in the channel, as a sales executive at security specialist FishNet, which is now part of Optiv. At Menlo, she reports to the VP of North American Sales.
“We had interactions with partners previous to my arrival,” Wilson said. “Since I came on board, we are looking at it as a blank slate, and are launching this new program with a Channel First focus. We view the channel as a true extension of our sales force, a view which is also held by senior leadership. And we have put together a program that is very rich in terms of margins.”
Wilson defined this Channel First focus as meaning the opposite of fulfillment.
“Our sales in the North American market will be going through partners,” she said.
This channel will initially be select, and will be managed through a single partner tier.
“We are defining a small group that we can enable to be extension of our sales force,” Wilson said. “We are not just signing any reseller out there. We have established relationships with some of the key channel players, although our ones with the global systems integrators are still being built out. We want partners with both a strong security practice and a strong cloud practice.”
MSSPs will be important to the long-term strategy, because of their reach within the market, but Wilson indicated that this segment is a very small part of Menlo’s channel today.
“We will be much more focused on that area in 2020,” she said.
The Boost program provides what Wilson termed ‘game-changing’ margins for both registered and nonregistered opportunities.
“We think this will get the attention of channel partners,” she said. “Others don’t go to market the same way. Instead of deal reg with 30 points, we provide a guaranteed margin, for both registered and non-registered deals. This way the partner is secure in understanding the revenue when the deal is closed.”
Wilson emphasized that they think this sales model will create a more integrated sales model with the channel.
“We want our channel partners to be with us early on in the sales cycle,” she said. “We work with partners on pricing strategies for the end user, to ensure its profitable for both of us, and that the end user gets a great experience.
“We aren’t looking for multiple bid scenarios,” Wilson added. “We want 2-3 partners in each area, to be laser-focused on those, and to go in with a specific business partner on each opportunity.”
Renewals with incumbency protection are also guaranteed.
Wilson noted that the Series D funding led to the expansion of Menlo’s Customer Succcess department to work with partners, and well as the expansion of training enablement.
“Many partners thrive on services, and a big incentive is the ability to perform those services,” she said. “Many partners have strong reference architectures, and being fully trained on ours provides a more robust sales opportunity.”
Greater Toronto Area-based HoneyTek Systems is a partner, and Menlo is partnered with large solution providers like Optiv who have a Canadian physical presence. They are seeking to expand their partner ecosystem in Canada, however.
“We are looking to grow that base,” Wilson said.