SASE platform vendor launches new channel program for VARs, service providers
Cato Networks, a networking and security vendor that’s a player in the burgeoning SASE space, is rolling out a revamped channel program that’s designed to give VARs, service providers, systems integrators, and others faster onboarding, stronger margin opportunities, and the ability to generate revenue more quickly.
The Lowdown: The new Cato Partner Program is designed to enable channel companies to shorten their sales cycles and drive up profits.
The Details: The company is pushing to become a larger player in the growing SASE (secure access service edge) market, with a cloud-based platform that brings together key elements of networking (including software-defined WAN – or SD-WAN – network-as-a-service, WAN optimization, and bandwidth aggregation) with security features like cloud access security brokers (CASBs), cloud secure web gateways (SWGs), Firewall-as-a-Service, and Domain Name System (DNS).
Key elements of the new partner program include:
>Strong margin opportunities: The list price is competitive so deals can be made without significant discounts, the vendor no longer has to approve discounts on every deal, deal registration is easy, and there’s proper deal protection in place.
>Streamlined tiers: Cato’s program has only two partner tiers, neither of which requires capital investment by partners. Training and certification are free and are available online and on-demand, and qualified partners can access free demo licenses, equipment, and marketing development funds (MDFs).
>Redesigned portal: Onboarding is now more structured and simpler, training sessions for channel enablement are recorded by Cato experts, and deal registration and pipeline management can be done from the portal.
The Impact: SASE is beginning to get attention in the industry as more applications are being delivered from and accessed through the cloud and workers become more mobile. In this more distributed and mobile environment, enterprises are putting a greater focus on their networks and the security needed to protect them. SASE entered Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Enterprise Networking 2019 report as a “transformational” technology and the market also is getting more crowded, with Palo Alto Networks jumping in this month with its own SASE platform, Prisma Access.
Background: Cato also is seeing support for its efforts. The company in January raised another $55 million, bringing the total amount raised since its founding in 2015 to $125 million. Company officials noted that in 2018, bookings increased year-over-year by 352% and that business via the channel grew five-fold.
The Buzz: “Since its inception, Cato has focused on making networking simpler. But simplicity isn’t just about our service; it’s also about how we partner,” Cato Networks co-founder and CEO Shlomo Kramer said. “We enable partners to profit from digital transformation no matter the opportunity, whether it’s SD-WAN as an MPLS replacement, secure branch Internet access, optimized global connectivity, facilitating cloud adoption, or mobile access.”
“Working with Cato allows our clients to gain technical, operational and financial efficiencies,” said Eric Ludwig, a specialist with the aggregation, infrastructure, and managed service team at technology service provider CDW. “Our clients can now leverage existing contracts with WAN suppliers while building a strategic road map to consolidation.”
“With Cato, we’ve been able to benefit from the disruptive cloud business,” said Yoji Ota, manager at Macnica Networks, a global technology value-added distributor. “Offering a subscription service has made forecasting much, much easier. We’ve been able to accumulate recurring sales revenue that will lead to stable profits for years to come.”
“We’ve analyzed what works with partner programs – and what doesn’t,” said Alon Alter, Chief Revenue Officer at Cato. “We believe in supporting our partners but at the same time giving them maximum independence. It’s because of their efforts and our unique platform that we’ve seen an 80% win ratio post proof-of-concept.”
“The process of onboarding to become a Cato certified partner was rapid and a natural fit,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO of Coevolve, a global provider of integrated SD-WAN solutions and cloud networking services. “The market for integrated network and security capabilities has evolved rapidly for multinational enterprise. Being able to easily connect all of their locations and roaming users to applications bypassing Internet congestion is a real game changer.”