For Zscaler’s Partners, Success Is All About Security Services

Zscaler elevates partner potential by highlighting security services and multi-vendor integrations at the annual Zenith Live ’24 conference.

By Larry Walsh & Bryn Nettesheim

Amid the new products and vendor-level partnership announcements at the Zenith Live ’24 conference in Las Vegas, Zscaler made a point of emphasizing to the partners in attendance that comprehensive technical capabilities plus robust service capacity is the winning formula in the best-of-breed security market.

During an exclusive partner track at the primarily customer-facing event, Zscaler laid out the importance of security services to partner success and profitability. Currently, Zscaler has nearly six-dozen certified and authorized security service partners, a base that’s growing three times faster — and is more profitable — than partners without services.

In August, Zscaler is updating its channel program with new features, benefits, and resources, including expanded availability of its security service authorization, with the intent of enabling more partners to deliver value-added services, said Karl Soderlund, senior vice president of worldwide partner and alliances sales at Zscaler, in a conversation with Channelnomics.

Zscaler’s interest in partners’ ability to deliver services goes beyond growth and profitability. As a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform, Zscaler provides important — but not all — components to threat detection and data protection. Zscaler partners with complementary security vendors, such as CrowdStrike for extended detection and response (XDR), Okta for identity and access management, and Splunk for observability and security information and event management (SIEM).

Soderlund explained that Zscaler is taking a heterogenous — or what’s commonly known as “best of breed” platform — approach to security, giving partners the ability to work with multiple vendors that lead in their respective categories to create systems that have greater degrees of effectiveness and value. Soderlund contrasts that approach with those of other security vendors that are attempting to build one-stop shops that include products of variable quality and effectiveness.

But the Zscaler argument to partners about heterogenous systems isn’t just about quality; it’s also about opportunity. Businesses — particularly large enterprises — approach security with a best-of-breed platform strategy. If partners can build security practices that incorporate multiple vendors with interoperable products, they have a compelling value proposition for the customer, Soderlund explained.

Analysis done by Zscaler on the impact of having multi-vendor technology capabilities and practices shows a stark difference between the platform approach and point product sales. Partners able to work within a Zscaler-based security stack see two times the sales wins, deal values more than four times the average, and shorter sales cycles.

More significant is the opportunity for attached sales. According to Zscaler, 50% of its best-of-breed platform sales come with additional attachment opportunities. By taking the platform approach, partners can establish relationships that open future sales that expand upon the base relationship.

“It’s a golden opportunity,” Soderlund said.

The forthcoming channel-program refresh will include a number of partner enablement enhancements, improvements to deal registration processes, incremental incentives to growth-oriented partners, and new policies that make profitability more predictable.

A core component of Zscaler’s partner enablement is training and certification. The vendor reported issuing more than 50,000 certifications in 2023 — a 200% year-over-year increase. The expectation is that the number of certified partners will continue to increase in 2024 as demand rises for holistic security systems that are based on or include Zscaler.

For the vendor, service expertise and multi-vendor support pose more than an opportunity for partners. They’re also imperative to the company’s growth initiatives. As Soderlund explained, Zscaler wants to enable partners to be able to sell, deploy, and support its products with more independence, which ultimately will help Zscaler grow its business.

Larry Walsh is the CEO, chief analyst, and founder of Channelnomics. He’s an expert on the development and execution of channel programs, disruptive sales models, and growth strategies for companies worldwide.

Bryn Nettesheim is vice president of professional services at Channelnomics. She provides strategic direction on client projects and creates processes to ensure operational efficiency and a positive client experience.

Disclosure: Zscaler is a client of Channelnomics.



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