McAfee creates security channel alliance

McAfee has formed a new security channel alliance as the vendor aims to increase its SMB business by 20 per cent in 2005.

The security alliance, launched in October of last year, has attracted 1,000 net new partners to McAfee so far this year. In addition, 500 renewed resellers have enrolled

in the program.

At the outset of the program, customized tiering models were introduced in the United States and Europe. In the first quarter of 2005, they were introduced in Canada as well as the Asia-Pacific and Latin American regions. The three tiers of the program – elite, premier and associate – are differentiated by criteria and benefit attainment. The program features a simplified master reseller agreement. And as part of the alliance, partners can access a web site with tiered entitlement but a common look and feel.

David Roberts, McAfee’s senior vice-president of channels for North America, said the security channel alliance is meant to reinforce his company’s commitment to the channel worldwide.

“The channel is critical to our success,” said Roberts on a recent visit to Toronto. “We want to ensure profitability and growth for McAfee and our channel partners by providing the best support possible.”

Roberts, who joined McAfee a year ago after 12 years with Microsoft and two years with Corel, has set down as series of objectives for 2005. In addition to increasing SMB business by 20 per cent, McAfee wants to improve training for its anti-virus resellers, help partners with leads, and introduce an automated renewal process that fosters incremental transactions of the existing customer base.

Roberts said another of his key objectives is ensuring that channel programs are region specific.

“We have to have a specific Canadian program, not just a North American one,” he noted.

“We have to understand the requirements, not just of our partners here, but of the end users too,” he added.

Jack Sebbag, McAfee’s Canadian general manager and senior vice-president, said Canadian resellers are being presented with a variety of opportunities for incremental revenue.

“Handheld devices and smart phones are increasingly being targeted by virus writers,” he said.

He also noted that e-mail users are facing new vulnerabilities, including the e-mail-based scam known as phishing, to get the credit card numbers of users.

Even though there are new opportunities for security resellers, Sebbag notes that spam continues to negatively impact on bandwidth and storage – not too mention the morale of workers.

“Spam is still a cheap way to get a message out,” he said. “(About) 2.5 million e-mail addresses can be bought for $139.99. And the effects can be devastating when you consider spam is being utilized as a method to carry Trojan (worms),” he added.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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