Interview

Check Point Software : “Wholly Committed to Channel Partnership”

Sundar N Balasubramanian, Managing Director for the India and SAARC Region speaks on how security now needs to go beyond the perimeter and Channels play a significant role in establishing any brand, solutions, products and offerings.  Catering to these demands, Check Point Software is fully channel driven.

What is the present security landscape in India?

In the past, enterprises only needed to be concerned about securing their IT architecture. With the proliferation of mobile and cloud, security now needs to go beyond the perimeter as attackers have found that carrying out attacks beyond the perimeter is easier.

Mobile 

India is witnessing a double-digit growth in internet and smartphone usage, driven by affordable access to smartphones, cheap data plans, bandwidth and rapid internet growth in rural areas. Internet usage in the country has exceeded half a billion people for first time, pegged at 566 million, driven by rural internet growth and usage. (Kantar IMRB) Interestingly, unlike our global counterparts, the proliferation is unmatched and unique given most Indians are experiencing the internet for the first time through their mobiles, making us truly a ‘mobile first’ nation.

The exponential pace at which we are experiencing the internet via mobile poses a threat to privacy and security given our newness to this format. Awareness and action to protect mobile devices against threats remain low in the country. According to industry data, India was the top country for mobile malware in 2018 (23.6 per cent), with over 3,000 Android malware being reported each day. For example, recently in July this year, Check Point Software discovered “Agent Smith”, a new variant of mobile malware that has quietly infected around 25 million devices, including 15 million mobile devices in India. Disguised as a Google-related application, the malware exploits known Android vulnerabilities and automatically replaces installed apps with malicious versions without users’ knowledge or interaction.

Additional facts: 

  • 65% of employee web browsing is from mobile devises, increasing exposure to malicious sites and downloads
  • Employees are accessing corporate data from smart phones – leaving these data highly exposed to possible theft
  • Mobile is being used for both professional and personal use – again, this puts data at risk

Check Point Software SandBlast Mobile, an innovative approach to mobile security for iOS and Android devices, detects and stops mobile threats before they start. It offers the industry’s highest threat catch rate without impacting performance or user experience.

Cloud

Cloud has become an integral piece of today’s IT infrastructure and in India, cloud is growing at a massive rate as both enterprises and start-ups have come to rely heavily on the cloud. Data and applications now reside in a multitude of cloud environments, including private and public clouds, spanning infrastructure, platform and software. As per NASSCOM, the India cloud market is growing tremendously and is expected to reach to US$7.1 billion by 2022. This can be attributed to an increasingly connected ecosystem, developing infrastructure facilities, increased innovation and a vibrant startup culture. Furthermore, new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), is fuelling the cloud market in India.

However, cyber-attacks in the cloud is already happening at a sizeable scale.  According to recent research by Check Point Software, almost one in five organizations say they have been a victim of a cloud security incident over the past year. The breach of sensitive data held in the cloud is a huge risk for an organization, and threat actors know it. The rate of cyber-attacks against cloud-based targets is growing, and will continue to grow.

Check Point Software CloudGuard delivers dynamic private cloud security within virtual data centers to prevent the lateral spread of threats while consolidating visibility and management across physical and virtual networks. In addition, CloudGuard delivers automated and elastic public cloud network security to keep assets and data protected while staying aligned to the dynamic needs of public cloud environments.

What is the channel opportunity in the entire security market?

India as a market is growing tremendously and channels play a significant role in establishing any brand, solutions, products and offerings. Channel partners help businesses like Check Point Software in India reach their audience in a targeted manner and commit them to win their business goals. Channel partners also allow extensive market reach and expansion for enterprises.

How much of business contribution happens through channel vis- a-vis direct?

Partnerships are at the center of Check Point Software’s strategy – we are 100% channel-driven.

What is your channel strategy? How has channel grown over the years on your technology?

We have been committed to channel partnerships since our inception 25 years ago. Our partners range from consulting partners, managed service providers, system integrators, strategic alliances, technology partners and distributors. We continue to grow our partnership community, focusing on strategic alignment and ability to execute.

Give some details about your channel program

The Stars Program – launched in 2015 – focuses on knowledge, education and collaboration. We believe helping our partners create a highly-skilled, knowledgeable sales force will grow both our businesses faster and more effectively. We start partners off at a 2-Star level and from there a partner’s growth is in its own control. The faster a partner grows (to achieve 3 or 4 stars), the more resources Check Point Software will provide. We train our partners’ teams, help fund their marketing, invite them to joint sales kick-off events.

Partners have the opportunity to choose the specialty that matches their company’s interest and Stars will provide the tools and resources needed to make them successful, for example:

  • Channel Sales Partners focus on selling and integrating Check Point Software’s wide range of security products
  • Training Partners focus on teaching and certifying end-customers and partners
  • Post-sales Service Providers focus on maintaining and supporting enterprise security installations

How is your channel program different from others?

Check Point Software’s Star Partner Program provides our current and prospective partners with an abundance of knowledge, education and collaboration opportunities. We believe enabling our partners to grow their business and capabilities in this exciting cyber security market helps customers stay one step ahead in threat prevention. In addition, Check Point Software offers several ways for partners to specialize in areas where they leverage their strengths and differentiators, be it in Advanced Threat Prevention, Cloud, or Mobile Security.

What market challenges do you face?

There are too many solutions offered by different companies that do not meet the security needs of businesses today. The traditional method whereby a specific security technology is deployed to defend against a specific type of attack or to protect a specific type of application no longer works.

Our role at Check Point Software would be to help companies grow awareness of the need for a new, holistic approach that involves assessing and designing security toward an integrated and unified security infrastructure that prevents attacks in real time to combat today’s security threats

Can you name some of the performing partners?

Each partner in our ecosystem is there because we believe our customers deserve the best expertise and support. Our partners are the best in what they do because we equip them with the right resources and tools to succeed.

What is your future roadmap?

With the rise in advanced threats targeting data driven enterprises, the demand for sophisticated offerings to include advanced threat prevention and enterprise level security features has grown. Check Point Software understands the ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape to appropriately invest in R&D, build superior technologies and implement them within organizations of all sizes.

Check Point Software aims to provide its customers a comprehensive suite of solutions that delivers the most innovative and effective security across all networks, empowering its customers with trust to stay protected against potential gen V cyber-attacks.

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