Secure grade, best of breed solutions
In early 2016, it was announced that security vendor Forcepoint would include products from Raytheon, Websense and Stonesoft. Today its portfolio is a combination of protection solutions for content, cloud, network security, as well as insider threat, web filtering and analytics solutions. “We have a lot of different technologies coming together and that is the messaging we have,” states John Bjorksten, Director Channel Sales EMEA, Forcepoint.
A key benefit that the merger of these three vendor technologies brings into Forcepoint, is access to security solutions that are being used to protect valuable assets inside countries such as governments and power plants. Typically, products and solutions available to only end customers of Raytheon Cyber are made available to Forcepoint customers when there is an upgrade.
Explains Bjorksten, “One thing that we see from the merger with Raytheon is the technology drift we get from Raytheon Cyber. We protect really valuable assets with these kinds of technologies. What they wanted is to be able to commercialise a lot of the technologies they have had in the field with the most valuable assets that you can protect. This is stuff that we do not know about usually and is sometimes very often only accessible to those customers.”
Bjorksten gives an example of SureView Insider Threat, which is a user behavior monitoring tool that has been protecting the most sensitive government organisation networks for over 15 years. SureView Insider Threat was created by Raytheon Cyber for its customer base but now exists as part of the Forcepoint product portfolio. “They gave us the opportunity to commercialise these products and put it as part of our portfolio.”
Typically, products in the Forcepoint portfolio secure all variations of end user access including cloud, hybrid cloud, mobile, end points, and server appliances.
Forcepoint follows a two-tier channel model across the EMEA region. The vendor rewards its partners based on the investments they make in being proactive in terms of training and certifications. “As a partner the more you invest in us in trainings, certifications and proactive approach towards customers, the more margins. We are changing the channel landscape from being reactive and fulfilment to proactive. That is what we are rewarding as well, with everything from more discounts and more margins,” says Bjorksten.
Another vendor incentive for channel partners is to go to market with the complete Forcepoint product portfolio. “At the same time we believe that selling the portfolio is the way we can actually give the market something that nobody else can give.”
For Bjorksten, the channel is the extended workforce of Forcepoint. In order to articulate the values of the vendor, channel partners need to be as well trained as possible. Tier-one partners or distributors are expected to manage the channel enablement, act as authorised training centres, provide proof of concept support, provide equipment for demonstrations, execute demand generation, facilitate meeting place, manage shipping and billing procedures. Tier two channel partners, when they resell, also need to complete the implementation, training, and support for the end customer. “We do not have any of our own guys going out for implementation.”
From a channel offering point of view, the foundation of the Forcepoint partner programme is based on three pillars that the vendor always works with it. These are transparency, predictability, and profitability, for channel partners. “We want to make sure whatever strategy we lay out that we actually fulfil the strategy, and when we make promises we keep the promises,” explains Bjorksten.
The Forcepoint partner programme has four levels for reseller partner segmentation and these include Associate, Silver, Gold, Platinum. According to Bjorksten, “Deal registration is a key differentiator of this partner programme.” Reseller channel partners fall into these levels based on their investment in trainings and certifications and the size of business with the vendor. Other metrics used to qualify channel partners include levels of partnership, competence, loyalty, proactivity.
Another recent partner programme category for reseller channel partners is Managed Service Providers. The Stonesoft acquisition from Intel Security transferred their managed service provider partner programme into Forcepoint, including channel partners and customers within this programme. Within this programme, channel partners sell the Forcepoint solution, either vendor branded or white labelled, investing in the hardware and software.
“We are about to launch the managed service provider programme for our next gen firewall offering. We are going to of course evaluate where we are with that,” adds Bjorksten. “It is just another way for us to reach the market.”
Mapping of channel partners
Channel partners are mapped into transactional, tactical, strategic, system integrators, based on the following parametres:
- Type of solution competency with Forcepoint
- Type of solution competency with other vendors
- Extent of services associated with solution
- Extent of overall Forcepoint product portfolio offered
- Extent of fulfillment
- Investment in training
- Dedicated resources available
- Competency for implementation
- Geographic positioning
Forcepoint, previously known as Websense and Raytheon-Websense, is owned by US defense contractor Raytheon, in a joint venture with private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. It offers businesses and government institutions services for content security, data protection, cloud security, network security, analytics, webfiltering.
It prevents users from viewing inappropriate content and discourages employees from browsing non-business-related websites. Forcepoint uses a combination of classification engines, filtering categories, data fingerprints, and word filters selected by customers.
Forcepoint was founded in 1994 and went public in the year 2000. In October 2011 Facebook began working with Forcepoint to assist Facebook in filtering links to malicious websites and malware sites. In May 2013, Forcepoint was acquired by Vista Equity Partners and taken private for a total purchase price of $906 million. In April 2015, defense contractor Raytheon and Vista Equity Partners entered an agreement to form a new cybersecurity company, combining Raytheon Cyber Products with Websense. Websense was to form the core of the joint venture with forecast sales of $500 million for 2015 and margins of around 20%.
In January 2016, it was announced that Raytheon Websense was renamed Forcepoint. Also in January 2016, Forcepoint acquired Stonesoft, McAfee Next Generation Firewall and Sidewinder, McAfee Firewall Enterprise from Intel Security. These newly acquired businesses expanded the cloud and hybrid capabilities of Forcepoint’s TRITON security platform.
Forcepoint today is the combination of Raytheon Cyber Products, Websense, and Stonesoft.