Bitdefender this week was pleased to announce that CRN, a top channel publication, named three of its leaders to the 2021 Channel Chiefs list. This prestigious honor is given to persons who make tremendous contributions to a company’s channel program growth and success and by demonstrating exceptional leadership. We are proud to honor Raluca Avram, senior manager, worldwide partner program; Brian Vasiloff, vice president, North America sales; and Jason Eberhardt, vice president, global cloud and managed service providers.
Bitdefender came off a successful 2020 where the company grew its overall partner ecosystem over 17 percent and added several big names to its roster. In addition, it accelerated partner growth in several key areas including remote monitoring and management and managed service providers.
We sat down with our Channel Chiefs for their thoughts on Bitdefender’s channel program, what they feel defines partner success, and what they look forward to most this year.
Q: A solid channel program solely relies on success of the partners; how would you define partner success?
Raluca: In my opinion, partner success is based on a combination of a few things: partner profits (of course), recognition in the industry, and the ability to scale to customer and market needs. Out of the three, I would say scalability is the element most often overlooked.
Partners not only have to build a business, but they also need eyes forward looking for ways to grow. Scalability traditionally brings better efficiencies and lower operational costs. It also helps achieve business sustainability, agility, and quicker responsiveness to developing trends and outlier events like the COVID-19 pandemic. Our philosophy has been to be a partner focused on delivering superior cybersecurity products and services to resell, but just as important, assist in building the foundation needed for long-term achievement through continuous support and truly collaborative go-to-market endeavors.
Q: The market for detection and response technologies for addressing cyberthreats is a major focus for channel partners currently. Do you think prevention type technologies are still relevant for strengthening cyber resiliency?
Jason: This is such a timely question. Prevention technologies are more important than ever and if incorporated correctly, complement detection and response. The sophistication and frequency of cyberattacks are becoming higher. It’s a simple concept - the likelihood of keeping an attack out of an environment and causing real damage is significantly higher when you first prevent it from gaining access.
I use the following analogy when I’m on stage or talking to customers. I ask people to think of the internet as your home. “How many access points do you have into a home?” Front and back doors, windows, the garage etc. Now think of each entry point as an IP address and you can start to visualize how cybercriminals enter an organization electronically. I then ask, “Would you let an intruder in your home to look around and evaluate the good stuff you have to steal?” The answer is no; you would first stop them from entering. This is the same principal of prevention when it comes to cybersecurity. For our channel partners this is critical to understand, modern cybersecurity programs must have threat prevention, threat detection and treat response working in concert to stop cybercriminals from entering, but if they do, quickly eradicate them upon detection.
Q: What excites you most about Bitdefender’s channel program in 2021?
Brian: There are big trends today that represent great opportunities for the channel to embrace Bitdefender and its cybersecurity portfolio. COVID-19 has accelerated the shift to work from home, disrupting traditional architectures and increasing the adoption of concepts like zero trust security. This pandemic accelerated digital transformation pushing organizations to embrace public, private and hybrid cloud environments at a quicker pace, all while maintaining strong security and compliance controls. At the point we do go back to some level of normalcy post COVID-19, most companies will sustain (at least in part) the work-from-home model that will rely heavily on secured cloud and virtual environments. I’m excited for our channel and the unique opportunity they will have to help their customers navigate the broad array of cybersecurity challenges.
To help our partners capitalize on this opportunity, in the coming months we will be implementing several changes and benefits ensuring our program supports the various go to market models being used by our channel community. These modifications are designed to ensure more partners have higher margin opportunities whether they are targeting their install base with upsell and cross-sell campaigns, or making an aggressive push for new customer acquisition via traditional subscription models or monthly revenue. So, stay tuned!