Vectra revamps channel program around partner business models

Vectra has also introduced more standardization of the programs in EMEA, APJ and the Americas, while still allowing for some local flexibility.

Jessica Couto, VP of Channel, Americas at Vectra

Today, network threat detection and response [NDR] vendor Vectra has reworked its global channel partner program to reflect the greater maturity of the company and its channel. The changes reflect that the partner base has moved beyond traditional resellers, and adds new flexibility for services-focused and MSSP partners. It also provides global standardization between regions, something that has become more important as Vectra has attracted larger partners who operate globally.

Vectra plays in that segment of the market that Gartner now defines as NDR. The original focus of the platform was detecting attacking behavior, and that has been supplemented by an AI-leveraged tool to assist with threat hunting, and, most recently , with a tool which delivers security-enriched network metadata to different response tools. In February they launched Cognito Detect for Office 365, which is significant since it allows them to look for threat activity in an environment where up to 30% of accounts are compromised. Vectra has also made significant strategic integrations, which include Crowdstrike, SentinelOne, Microsoft and SIEM vendors like Splunk.

That expansion of capabilities has also expanded the types of partners who work with Vectra.

“With the expansion of our products and our integrations, we have also expanded our channel and now have different types of partners,” said Jessica Couto, VP of Channel, Americas at Vectra. “In addition, the history of the channel at Vectra has always been regionalized, and has run separately in EMEA, APJ, and the Americas. You didn’t have much collaboration between regions, especially with two of the three channel leaders being new to Vectra. That made it hard to scale and grow.  Some of our partners, like NTT and Optiv, are global. So we decided to come together as a group and standardize everything across the globe, and make things easier for our back end people. To deal with these issues, we needed to create a program with a structure that was more expandable and flexible, to handle different kinds of partners and to meet all regions’ needs without requiring constant changes. To do that, we needed a more flexible program.”

That starts with a change in structure from a traditional three-tier program based on specific revenue commitments to a category-focused one aligned around the partners’ Go-to-Market focus. There are three categories, for resell partners, services-focused partners like integrators, and managed services-focused partners, specifically MSSPs.

“The organization isn’t around dollars but around the type of partner,” Couto said. “The balance is still heavier on resellers, but we have seen increased interest from MSSPs – and not just small ones, but large global ones.”

Vectra does not yet have any Global Service Integrator partners in the services category, but they are looking to change that.

“It’s a focus area for us,” Couto indicated.

Each of these three categories is divided into two tiers: Authorized and Ambassador.

“To become an Ambassador partner, we look for levels of commitment and training,” Couto said. “In EMEA, we do look for revenue targets but in the Americas, it’s investment from a marketing and training perspective. They also need to have customer references. We want evidence of joint customer satisfaction, and they will need two, or one as a minimum by the end of the year. Customer references send a strong value reference, and customer success is where we are all going.”

The training program has been completely revamped and all put online. Ironically, the decision to do this was made just before the pandemic hit, but the coincidence was fortuitous. Four new online training modules were rolled out in April. They are: Authorized to Demo, Vectra Sales Professional [VSP], Vectra Certified Pre-Sales Engineer [VPSE], and Vectra Certified Implementation Engineer [VCIE]. The VCIE is combined with Vectra Certified Security Analyst [VCSA] for MSSP partners.

“We are also rolling out a partner community, which emphasizes mutual customer success,” Couto noted. “Our channel is a true extension of the organization, and our whole philosophy and Go-To-Market is to include an element of the channel. We want everybody to be successful.”

Vectra has between 80-85 partners in the Americas after a recent pruning of a few inactive ones. Globally, they have around 200 partners.