Channel Programs. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

10 Hot Cybersecurity Channel Programs To Watch in 2021

Integration, education mark revamped partner programs as security vendors update for the cloud era

David Braue

Melbourne, Australia – Jul. 16, 2021

By and large, cybersecurity channel programs have grown out of a time when security tools were still predominantly run on-premises, with dedicated server applications or appliances common and VARs focused mostly on delivering and configuring products.

Today’s cybersecurity market, of course, is far more complex and varied than that, with resellers variously selling, rebranding or customizing a range of cloud-based security capabilities. Sales targets are commensurately more complicated, dealing not with units moved but with metrics like recurring revenues and peak user numbers.

In today’s market, resellers must grapple with the complexities of threat-intelligence feeds, API-based integration with other products, the relative efficiency and specificity of AI-based solutions, seamless delivery to a broad range of edge devices and even enterprise-grade identity platforms delivered as-a-service.

As vendors pivot away from the COVID-19 pandemic and adjust their operations to accommodate its myriad security lessons, a slew of channel-program relaunches has this year breathed new air into partnership models — providing new incentives and licensing options, and facilitating different technical and marketing collaborations that better reflect the rapidly changing cybersecurity models that customers want and require.

“Our partners help us address the global concerns that are bigger than just email compromise,” said Karen Kukoda, vice president of partnerships with collaboration-security vendor SafeGuard Cyber, whose Illuminate Partner Program highlights the increasing agility that today’s cybersecurity partnerships must enable.

“It’s not just about stopping business email compromise [BEC],” she added. “It’s about stopping BCC — business communication compromise — and this is an emerging threat that our partners want to help provide a comprehensive solution for.”

“Today our partners resell our solution; in the future, many partners will offer services to help our customers remove these threats from their environments.”

For VARs, integrators and managed security service providers (MSSPs) alike, the right channel program can be crucial to continued success in the ultra-competitive market. Nearly every vendor has one, but some are moving faster than others to address the changing cybersecurity market and threat environment.


Here are 10 of the hottest cybersecurity channel programs to watch this year:

  • Acronis, Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Reflecting the company’s strong shift towards cloud-based tools — and the 30 percent surge in service-provider partner numbers after it launched its Acronis Cyber Protect platform last year — Acronis has “reimagined” its CyberFit partner program as a “unified program for service providers and resellers” including sliding-scale financial incentives, marketing and sales assets, account management assistance, enhanced technical support, and live and online sales and technical training.
  • Bitdefender, Bucharest, Romania. Aiming to streamline the integration of its security tools for a partner network that grew by 21 percent last year alone, Bitdefender recently reworked its Partner Advantage Network program with expanded technical and sales e-learning, an integrated portal that simplifies interactions with the company, and new financial incentives as resellers increasingly look for help in securing customers’ hybrid cloud and on-premises environments.
  • Claroty, New York, N.Y. With Internet of Things (IoT) security more relevant than ever, IoT security is becoming a critical part of complete enterprise defenses. Encapsulating Claroty’s industrial cybersecurity expertise, the recently launched FOCUS Partner Program will help channel partners tap its rich and deep expertise in protecting critical infrastructure. FOCUS includes a streamlined partner portal, tiered partner levels, specializations for a range of partner types, and tailored partner tracks in areas like industrial control systems, SCADA, forensic and incident response, security assessments, and more.
  • ConnectWise, Tampa, Fla. Recognizing surging demand for cybersecurity capabilities, automation and business management specialist ConnectWise recently launched a partner program that leverages its support partners to build cybersecurity practices. The program includes a range of market development resources, training resources, email campaign management tools, pre-sales expertise, and internal support such as a Get Your House in Order Journey that helps partners audit and improve their own cybersecurity practices.
  • Cyberbit, Ra’anana, Israel. Live ‘cyber range’ training has become a key capability for business technical teams, and that makes it a compelling value-add for security service providers. The Cyberbit Partner Program recognizes this, helping partners bundle cyber-range training with their own security services with broad and deep technical support, sales and market development support, joint planning and training, and more.
  • Cybereason, Boston, Mass. Leveraging its global network of managed detection and response (MDR) capabilities, Cybereason’s newly launched Defenders League Partner Program offers targeted bundles for resale partners, MSSPs, incident response firms, and technology partners seeking a more technical integration. Each stream includes analytics, training, integration, and other capabilities designed to help partners’ customers add endpoint security, incident detection and response services to their customer offerings.
  • Palo Alto Networks, Santa Clara, Calif. Recognizing the increasingly “dynamic, high-growth” markets from which partners source cybersecurity capabilities, Palo Alto Networks this year revamped its NextWave partner program with the launch of what it calls NextWave 3.0 — bundling its broad security portfolio with three new incentivized training and certification-supported specializations (in SASE, cloud, and XDR) as well as new incentive structures, a two-tier go-to-market strategy for its Prisma Cloud unified-security platform, and more.
  • SafeGuard Cyber, Charlottesville, Va. Communications-security firm SafeGuard Cyber — whose platform takes email security to a new level with live, cloud-based protection for a range of social media and communications platforms including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Salesforce, and Slack — recently debuted its Illuminate partner program to help partners protect the collaboration platforms on which their customers have come to rely. The broad utility of these tools across every business type and industry vertical — everybody now faces the challenge of securing work-from-home employees — makes Illuminate relevant for reseller partners of nearly every type, size, and customer base.
  • Sectigo, Roseland, N.J. Digital identity has become a table-stakes security capability for integrators of every size — which is why digital identity management firm Sectigo this year launched its Secure Partner Program to formalize its engagement with companies keen to tap its capabilities to secure contemporary web application environments. The program includes a range of market development, webinars, onboarding training for partners, and over 70 training courses delivered through the company’s Sectigo University.
  • Trustifi, Las Vegas, Nev. As a front-line defence against phishing and other malicious attacks, email security has become a crucial capability for solutions providers working hard to protect their customers against ransomware and other business threats. Trustifi’s newly launched channel partner program provides a wealth of technical integrations to support white-label email security for managed service provider partners — who stand to benefit considerably by helping close the email security gap for companies of all sizes.

“Managed security providers, VARs, integrators, and solution providers are always looking to enter large new markets,” says Steve Morgan, founder of Cybersecurity Ventures. “Wrapping security around social media, chat, conferencing and collaboration tools is an enormous market opportunity that will grow substantially over the next 5 years,” adds Morgan.

David Braue is an award-winning technology writer based in Melbourne, Australia.

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In 2014, our founders realized businesses and governments were leaving the traditional security perimeter to adopt transformational digital and social media channels. They built SafeGuard Cyber as an intelligent system to systematically identify and take action against risks in these communication channels, at scale. We believe the security paradigm must shift to redefine these digital channels as the first line of defense. Today, we help companies detect threats in real time, defend their organizations, and automate information governance across all of their digital channels.