Merilus, a network security developer out of Chilliwack, B.C., wants to give resellers interested in developing virtual private networking (VPN) solutions a hand.

The firm has created a channel plan, called the Preferred Reseller Program, to provide those VARs starting out with marketing, technical support and rebates on firewall, VPN and other network security products.

The VPN market on its own is ample incentive for resellers, since it is pegged to grow more than $7.5 billion worldwide by 2005, according to Ross Mrazek, vice-president of sales for Merilus.

“This program (was created) to develop relationships with resellers and to have product in the channel. Our current base in Canada is primarily growing in B.C. and Ontario,” he said.

The Preferred Reseller Program consists of rebates, lead referrals, sales support, marketing materials, technical support and training, trade show and seminar support, as well as the opportunity to participate in new product rollouts.

The rebate program will be applied to quarterly purchase totals of all Merilus products, including the Gateway Guardian and Firecard product line.

Mrazek would like to see Merilus grow right across the country, however.

There has been some growth in Alberta, Quebec and the rest of the Prairie Provinces, but he admitted it was in the initial growth stage.

Besides launching the Preferred Reseller Program, Mrazek will be hiring a full-time sales representative for Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes, to be based in Toronto.

Previous to the partner program launch, Merilus entered the channel by way of distribution deals with Ingram Micro, Tech Data and EMJ Data Systems. Both Tech Data and EMJ cover Canada, while the Ingram deal is a worldwide one, but with a heavy emphasis on the U.S.

“We have good, even representation throughout North America. I am concerned with quality more than quantity of reseller,” Mrazek said.

Another reason for the program was to heighten Merilus’ brand with resellers.

“This is a good incentive program to start offering products. We are new to the market and we are trying to build confidence with resellers. The rebate program is significant and built for smaller resellers. They can get better margins than larger resellers,” Mrazek said.

Merilus has signed Insight USA, and through the Kortex merger has signed Insight Canada. They also have smaller VARs signed onto their services arm such as Northern Computer of Kelowna, B.C.

The company currently competes with a host of security providers including Sonicwall, NetScreen and WatchGuard. Their products sell between $1,000 and $5,000 per unit or implementation.

“This was an opportunity to expand the current product offering,” he said.

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