Pentest-as-a-Service provider Cobalt launches first partner program

Cobalt provides pentesting through a platform, which delivers results quickly because they have a very large team of pentesters, and in response to solution provider interest, they have created a channel program to support partners.

Lauren Gimmillaro, Head of Channel at Cobalt

Today, Pentest as-a-Service vendor Cobalt is launching their first partner program.  The company has seen strong growth in the last year, which has brought with it inquiries about partnering from solution providers. The new program has tracks for referral and reseller partners. It does not yet have any provision for MSP partners, as the company has no MSP partners as of yet, but they acknowledge  their solution is well suited to MSPs and MSSPs, and that could well change going forward.

Cobalt began as a bug bounty program in 2013, pivoted to pentesting in 2016 and began selling what they term their PtaaS [Pentesting as-a-Service] model in 2017.

“What differentiates us in the market is that we have a platform to get started in 24-48 hours,” said Lauren Gimmillaro, Head of Channel at Cobalt. “Traditionally a week is quick, a month is normal and it can easily take a quarter. We are also different because we are entirely human run, not just a scanner. Our full team is 300 pentesters around the word, and that is what enables us to get started so quickly.

Gimmillaro said that Cobalt offers customers other advantages over traditional pentesting.

“We have the ability to monitor pentests as you go along, so vulnerabilities are reported in real time,” she said. “We complete all pen tests in two weeks, again because we have so many pen testers. We also let customers retest for free, so companies can improve their security posture.”

Cobalt’s customers cover pretty much the whole spectrum, from certain types of small companies to the very large.

“Cybersecurity is a huge growing industry, so we work with any size company,” Gimmillaro said. “We focus a lot on SMB, but also corporate [201-1000 employees] and the enterprise.” Cobalt added 350 new customers in 2020, saw annual recurring revenue grow 75%, expanded their own overall employee headcount by 50%, and plan to add 100 more full time employees in 2021.

“Based on our very quick growth, a lot of companies have reached out who were interested in working with us,” Gimmillaro said. “We slowly started building this out and selected our first channel partners in January.” The program is entirely new, and a result of this growth of interest, as opposed to being a formalization of an existing ad hoc system.

Out of the gate, 14 partners are enrolled in the program, including one Canadian partner, a boutique consulting firm in Toronto.

“So far we have onboarded partners from the compliance software space,” Gimmillaro said. “These tend to be smaller and more regional players.”

At launch, the program has two tracks, a  referral track and reseller track, with the referral track having four tiers, and the reseller having three.

“The referral track has different benefits – referral fees, preferred pricing, and Go-to-Market benefits like marketing campaigns and the ability to post guest blogs on Cobalt’s website,” Gimmillaro indicated. “The reseller track is more straightforward – the margin percentage goes up with the tier.”

The reseller track has much more significant training requirements.

“The referral track involves less commitment, and referral partners are offered training, but it is not required,” Gimmillaro said. “The resellers are treated as an extension of us, so extensive training is required in order for them to enter the program.” Only a single individual has to be trained. Certification and training requirements tied to tier are not part of the program today.

MSPs are not part of the program as of now, but Gimmillaro said that is likely to change going forward.

“Today, we don’t have any MSP partners, but I see tremendous value in working with them,” she indicated. “We are still building out our partner program.”