Netskope responds to growing SASE market opportunity with new partner programs

Netskope recently launched Netskope Prime, an SE technical recognition program, and the Netskope Partner Delivery Program, to better enable partners delivering services on the Netskope platform.

Dave Rogers, Netskope’s  Global Channel Chief

2020 was a good year for security cloud provider Netskope. The company, which started as a CASB [Cloud Access Security Broker] in 2012, has evolved beyond that to address the divergent needs of the SASE [Secure Access Service Edge] market. That has involved the recent rollout of two new programs for Netskope’s channel partners, Netskope’s Partner Delivery and Netskope Prime.

“2020 was an amazing year for Netskope,” said Dave Rogers, Netskope’s  Global Channel Chief. “We have always been a leader in the forefront of cloud security, but the impact of COVID, along with our launch of new solutions, made 2020 a record year for us. Even Q2 was strong. Our numbers were excellent both year-over-year and quarter-over quarter. We expect to finish our quarter that just ended with another record quarter.”

Netskope has a 100% channel strategy, which Rogers said is essential in the SASE market.

“Partners play a bigger role in SASE because they are closer to end customers,” he commented. “SASE is not a product like many security vendors push. SASE is a journey and a strategy, which will take six months for some and three years for some. For some companies it is also a reference architecture about how we make end user computing easier for the end users. We are seeing people create their own definition of SASE that fits their legacy sweet spot. Because we are not all things SASE for everyone, it is also really important that we play nice in the SASE ecosystem.”

Rogers said that while Netskope is benefitting from the overall growth of SASE in the market, they are benefitting disproportionately from shifts within the market.

“We know we are taking market share, because some former key competitors no longer participate in some of those spaces,” he noted. “Broadcom has been very selective since they acquired Symantec/Bluecoat, which has created a lot of opportunity to replace Bluecoat. They tried to retool an entire platform to be cloud-native and cloud-first, but they underestimated how difficult and expensive it is. We also hear other competitors are having some issues.”

Rogers also stressed that Netskope has been doubling down on their channel enablement efforts.

“Melissa Nacerino joined us about eight months ago from Palo Alto Networks as Head of Global Channels and Alliances Marketing, helping to set the foundation for scale and growth, and bringing new programs to market,” he said.

One of these is Netskope Prime, which was launched in late March.

“This is our sales engineer technical recognition program,” Rogers said. “It is an end-to-end program that was the brainchild of a few of our SE leaders, about how we could better create Netskope champions in the field.”

The first phase of Netskope Prime features exclusive monthly Prime Time Live interactive deep-dive technical sessions which are not offered to regular SEs, and Prime Time News, a special gated section on the partner portal. There is also an exclusive member group on LinkedIn.

“Netskope Prime really features direct access to our teams,” Rogers said.

The other new program, Netskope Partner Delivery Program, is by invitation-only, and is designed to better  enable, authorize, and support Netskope partners in delivering advanced services

“We have partners who have been delivering services around Netskope for many years,” Rogers indicated. “With the Netskope Partner Delivery Program, we have created a new level of enablement and new access of support tools to individuals. Partners invited to participate also get access to a Partner Technical Account Manager at no cost to those partners.”

This program is not part of the larger Netskope Evolve partner program, and is not directly related to its tiers.

“It is solely focused on creating outstanding delivery partners,” Rogers said. “Less than 5% of partners have been offered access to this program, although our intent is to eventually phase in more. The program invite is for the partner company, but it is tailored for specific engineers, who have to have a number of pre-requisites and who have to continue to upgrade the training they receive through the program.”

Netskope also recently introduced Partner Marketing Planning templates to drive strategic joint marketing, unveiled Netskope Cloud Security Sales Associate, a new, dedicated partner sales training and accreditation, and announced their membership in the Microsoft Networking Partner Program.

Rogers noted as well that Netskope has stepped up its presence in the Canadian market, following their tripling of their Canadian data centre presence in 2020 by  adding new facilities in Montreal and Vancouver to their existing one in Toronto.

“While Netskope globally has doubled our channel team and resources, in Canada, we have tripled the amount of resources,” he said. “We have hired three new people within the last month in the Canadian market and have one more to hire there.”