Barracuda’s New Partner Program is a Sign of the SMB Channel Times
IT providers increasingly employ hybrid business models, prefer relationships to transactions, and do business on marketplaces. Barracuda’s making all three easier.
Channelholic is far from the only outlet to report on the all-new partner program that Barracuda Networks introduced this week. But I’m pretty sure it’s the first. We told you this was coming all the way back in April, in fact, and then spilled more details in June.
By now, you’re probably familiar with the basics. Called the Barracuda Partner Success Program, it’s the first unified offering for every partner of every kind all over the world. It divvies members up into Affiliate, Authorized, Preferred, and Premier levels based on requirements in four areas—land, adoption, expansion, and retention/renewal. There’s an updated portal with simplified deal registration, more MDF funding, increased incumbency protection on subscription renewals, and more.
What interests me as much as anything about the program, though, is how closely it reflects the changing face of the SMB channel in ways other vendors will be mimicking soon, if they aren’t already. Three issues in particular stand out:
1. Hybrid partner business models—Not that long ago, it was pretty easy to slot partners into distinct categories like “managed service provider,” “integrator,” or “reseller.” These days, IT firms must increasingly be all three at once and more.
“Their heads are spinning a little bit, because the modern buyer wants so many different things and has so many different needs and preferences for how they procure technology, consume it, and manage it,” says Jason Beal (pictured), Barracuda’s vice president of worldwide partner ecosystems.
Forcing partners who wear multiple hats to juggle multiple programs with different rules and tiers only complicates matters further. Hence Barracuda’s decision to roll everyone together into one program with one set of requirements and rewards, an arrangement that has the added benefit of helping members get credit in one place for every deal they close regardless of whether it’s a straight-up product sale, MRR subscription, or private offer on a marketplace.
“That’s the biggest feedback and the biggest input from our partners,” Beal says. “All of our businesses count.”
2. Marketplaces—It says something about the billions flowing through online marketplaces now and the even greater billions to come that Barracuda (like Trend Micro, among others) is training serious attention on the topic.
“For the first time, we’re real proud that with this global launch we have an entire enablement track within our partner portal for the hyperscaler marketplaces,” Beal says, adding that it offers resources for members still brand new to those sites, experienced users, and everything in between.
“There’s still quite a diverse level of maturity within the partner community as far as their engagement with the hyperscalers,” Beal notes.
3. Relationships versus transactions—Here’s something else new about the Partner Success Program. “We’ve also added for the first time within the partner portal an MSP enablement track,” Beal says, along with a first-ever customer success certification. Both are designed to ease partners from the traditional “sell it and forget it” model to a relationship-oriented approach that continually cycles clients from land to adopt to expand to renew. Mastering that transition, Beal notes, takes a whole new mindset and skill set.
“It’s no longer just how many customers are you acquiring, but are you measuring the time to value,” he says. “Are you measuring how quickly they’re ramping up with the second product or a third product? Are you really scientifically measuring your churn rates and what you’re doing with that end customer throughout their entire lifecycle?”
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Sumo Logic is a marketplace fan too
Barracuda isn’t the only beneficiary of marketplace growth. SaaS security vendor Sumo Logic (which I last wrote about in May) saw nearly 1,200% year-over-year growth in revenue generated by partners on AWS via Channel Partner Private Offers during its most recently completed fiscal quarter.
“Customers are starting to ask for it more,” says Timm Hoyt (pictured), senior vice president of worldwide partners and alliances at Sumo, of marketplace purchasing. Partners are listening, he adds.
“They’re seeing tremendous growth in that space, as are we with them,” Hoyt says.
To sustain that momentum, Sumo revealed last week that it’s a launch partner for the AWS Built-in Competency Partner Solutions introduced at Amazon’s re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. Products covered by the new program are pre-configured to deploy AWS foundational services alongside partner application software.
“They are AWS validated, ISV-plus-AWS native services [offered] as a turnkey package available through Marketplace with proven business outcomes,” Hoyt says. “This is an area that we’re excited about, in particular with AWS and our shared partner ecosystem, to help customers quickly realize business value.”
Phrases like “business outcomes” and “business value” will have a familiar ring to regular Channelholic readers given how much I’ve been banging on about the importance of delivering solutions versus commoditized services in recent weeks. Doing that on a turnkey basis, as Sumo Logic and AWS are now doing, is that much better, and not just for big businesses.
“It’s proven and vetted, and it’s easy to consume and easy to deploy,” Hoyt says. “That’s really well-targeted for the SMB market.” Pre-packaged AWS solutions for log analytics and cloud infrastructure are available as of last week too.
Another way to witness my channelholism in action
SaaS Alerts wants to secure everything SaaS
Like those two new solutions Sumo Logic introduced last week, everything the company makes going forward will be hosted in and targeted at the cloud.
“On-prem is not an area that Sumo will continue to invest into,” Hoyt says. “We’ll leave that to other vendors who were built in that era and are better suited for that. We’re focusing on more modern customers.”
So is almost everyone else, according to Jim Lippie (pictured), CEO of SaaS Alerts.
“I don’t want to say it’s zero, but I’m pretty sure it’s at least 99% of software companies out there today, when they’re creating new software it’s not on-prem,” he says.
Securing all those applications has been the mission at SaaS Alerts since its inception some three years ago, and today the company supports Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, Salesforce, Slack, and Dropbox, not to mention several RMM solutions and Kaseya’s IT Glue platform.
Turns out those aren’t the only solutions in the cloud, however. Most businesses also use some combination of QuickBooks Online, DocuSign, HubSpot, Box, Smartsheet, and NetSuite, among others.
SaaS Alerts, which would very much like to help its partners secure those products, introduced a tool called App Wizard this week that’s designed to make the task much easier. Send in the name of a cloud-based application that your clients are using, and SaaS Alerts will start protecting it for you within a matter of days. And once you have access to that protection so will all of the vendor’s roughly 900 other partners.
Every time that happens, end users become a little less vulnerable to data loss and MSPs become a little less vulnerable to the lawsuits that can follow when a breach inevitably occurs. Don’t forget the money too, Lippie adds.
“I believe that this could be the next big wave of revenue creation for the MSP community,” he says. SaaS Alerts advises MSPs to charge $200 per customer per month for every incremental application they secure. Do that for two applications apiece for 50 customers and you’re looking at $240,000 extra a year at what the vendors says can be up to 91% gross margins.
There’s a catch, though, and it’s a big one. App Wizard only works on SaaS applications with what SaaS Alerts calls a “viable API”.
“There are some applications out there with great APIs, but they don’t collect necessary information to be viable from a security standpoint,” Lippie explains. “We want to see who’s logging in, where are they logging in from, what are they looking at, and what are they taking.”
Only time will tell how many SaaS apps submitted by App Wizard users have viable APIs, but Lippie isn’t optimistic. “Hopefully we’ll be pleasantly surprised and that percentage is much higher than we suspect,” he says, “but it could be somewhere between 25 and 45 percent.”
Anticipating such a problem, SaaS Alerts has launched a petition drive aimed at giving all those non-viable API owners a taste of how much demand exists for better security telemetry. The goal is to collect signatures from 2,500 MSPs serving something like 250,000 SMBs by March 8th, when the Right of Boom security conference concludes in Las Vegas.
“Once we get those signatures, we’re going to pass our petition along to some of the leading software companies in the world,” Lippie says. One hopes they’ll be listening.
Seven days and counting…
…until I join Matt Solomon and Kelly Stone of Channel Program as co-host of the next Channel Engage event, a free monthly livestream in which vendors pitch their wares to a totally anonymous audience of MSPs. Join us!
Syncro and security
So here’s an exception to all the cloud momentum we’ve been discussing. At a time when ConnectWise, Kaseya, and its Datto brand, among others, are following the lead set over a year ago by N-able and rolling out cloud (or at least SaaS) management functionality, Syncro is focusing elsewhere for the moment.
“It’s kind of an evolution of the RMM that we’re thinking about,” says CEO Emily Glass (pictured), but not a core focus. That’s because it isn’t a priority among Syncro partners either, she adds.
“It’s not in the top three right now,” Glass says.
Security, on the other hand, is. “A lot of the MSPs that I’ve talked to, security is the thing that keeps them up at night,” said Kristen Costagliola, Syncro’s chief product and technology officer, during this week’s virtual Syncro Grow conference. “It’s the thing that they’re the most worried about because it is the thing that can change your business entirely.”
Syncro’s 2024 roadmap reflects that anxiety. Support for YubiKeys, Google’s Titan device, and other hardware-based 2FA tools is due within weeks, and a feature aimed at warning you whenever a Syncro system password shows up on the dark web will follow.
Glass hints at another forthcoming announcement that could dovetail with a hot topic in security. “There’s a lot I think we can do to extend affordable managed AV solutions to our partners and to the market,” she says.
PSA enhancements loom large in Syncro’s plans for next year as well in ways that will impact everything from onboarding to collecting payments. “We do provide an end-to-end payment solution already, but there’s many more things we can do to improve the efficiency of using the PSA and also make collecting payments from your end clients even easier,” Glass says.
Adding support for more payment providers will be one of those improvements, attendees learned during the Grow conference. “We’re looking actually broader than just one single vendor and have a number that we’re going to be hopefully releasing early in 2024,” Costagliola said.
Building more scalability into the Syncro platform, already a point of emphasis, will remain one next year as well, Glass says, along with continuing to solicit partner feedback and being transparent about the company’s future plans.
“Starting with today and this interview,” Glass jokes.
Also worth noting
N-able has added AI-assisted scripting and Apple management to its N-central RMM. Hoping to discuss this with the company soon.
Veeam’s sprawling 23H2 data platform update is now out to partners.
GoTo, in what it calls an industry first, has integrated its LogMeIn Rescue product with Intel Endpoint Management Assistant for Intel vPro-based devices.
Speaking of integration, Vade partners now have more of it with ConnectWise PSA and Datto Autotask, thanks to a partnership with Dutch company ApplicationLink.
Speaking more of integration, TeamViewer’s RMM now utilizes Lansweeper's asset discovery and inventory tech.
Robb Reck is the new chief trust and security officer at Pax8.
Kudos to CompTIA’s ISAO for contributing to Apps for Good, which helps kids learn tech skills. Perhaps you should donate too. I did just now.
And while we’re doling out kudos, Stellar Cyber deserves some too for introducing the Stellar Cyber University Program, which aids providers of security degrees and certifications along with not-for-profit managed SOCs in underserved communities.