WatchGuard‘s transformation from firewall mainstay to post-perimeter security vendor is now roughly one week into its next jump forward.
Since last Thursday, products from Panda Security, the endpoint protection software maker that WatchGuard bought in March, have been available for resale to members of the WatchGuardONE partner program alongside WatchGuard’s network security, multifactor authentication, and secure Wi-Fi products, and Panda’s Adaptive Defense 360 solution is now part of the WatchGuard Passport security bundle.
In addition, members of Panda’s P3 partner program can now join WatchGuardONE, and everyone in WatchGuard’s channel has access to a new endpoint security specialization.
Months in the making, those changes collectively represent a significant milestone for WatchGuard, which sells exclusively through the channel, according to Michelle Welch, the vendor’s senior vice president of marketing.
“Since closing [the Panda acquisition], our top priority was really to get the products from both portfolios on a single price list at distribution, simplifying the purchasing process for joint partners, and to immediately make our partner program and the benefits of that program available to the combined partner community,” she says.
WatchGuard resellers have been eagerly awaiting their chance to add Panda’s Adaptive Defense suite, which includes advanced anti-malware and endpoint detection and response components, to their security catalog, Welch continues. In annual partner surveys the last three years running, she notes, partners regularly ranked endpoint security the number one solution category they’d like to see added to WatchGuard’s portfolio. Over 25% of the company’s partners have downloaded the free not-for-resale (NFR) copies of Panda’s software made available to them this spring for testing purposes too.
Panda partners, meanwhile, can now officially begin adding WatchGuard products to their offerings. “It really gives them the opportunity to expand their product portfolio beyond just endpoint and also immediately receive the financial benefits of being part of the WatchGuardONE program,” Welch says.
P3 members have the option of waiting before officially joining WatchGuardONE, but those who make the jump will enjoy the same status in the new program as they had before through March of next year. They will also receive benefits that according to WatchGuard are at least as generous as those they received previously.
WatchGuard aims to have all P3 members in WatchGuardONE by the end of the year, but doesn’t plan to enforce that cutoff date strictly. “We’ve made the commitment that we’ll do whatever’s right by our partners to make sure it’s a nice process, not a painful process,” says Welch of switching programs.
The expectation, she continues, is that Panda resellers will use the next six months to earn their first WatchGuard specialization. WatchGuardONE members must earn a credential in endpoint security, network security, multifactor authentication, or secure Wi-Fi to qualify for the program’s silver tier. Partners that ascend to the gold level by adding a second specialization collect significantly higher rebates, and partners at the platinum level that have earned all four specializations get higher payouts still.
To ease the certification process, which requires partners to purchase and use an NFR product, WatchGuard is providing heavily subsidized NFR licenses to Panda resellers for a limited time. “They’re a penny through distribution, so essentially free,” Welch says. “There’s no additional financial barrier for them to get recertified in the WatchGuard specialization.”
Rolling P3 members and Panda products into WatchGuardONE is the latest step in ongoing efforts to adapt the latter program to WatchGuard’s expanding product family, which has included MFA in addition to firewalls since the July 2018 release of the vendor’s AuthPoint solution and mobile DNS filtering since the debut of DNSWatchGO last September.
Those changes, in turn, came in response to increased end user mobility and exploding adoption of cloud computing solutions, both of which have turned WatchGuard’s firewalls into but one of many elements in complete, layered security strategies.
The revamped version of WatchGuardONE introduced last spring, which makes joining the program with just one specialization easier while rewarding members for mastering multiple WatchGuard products, reflects the expansion of WatchGuard’s portfolio. To date, in fact, 32% of partners enrolled in WatchGuardONE have earned more than one credential.
Since the new WatchGuardONE’s introduction, additional MSP-friendly pricing options have rolled out too. Pay-as-you-go rates for WatchGuard’s network security solutions arrived in 2019, and became available for AuthPoint too this year. Panda already offered flexible subscription fees when WatchGuard bought it.
More recently, Welch and her team have been working to help partners cope with the changed threat landscape brought about by the coronavirus pandemic and the sudden shift to work-from-home computing it brought about. Immediately after lockdowns began going into effect, according to Welch, resellers began clamoring for a remote workforce security offer. The bundle WatchGuard came up with combines AuthPoint with DNSWatchGO and provides up to 250 seats of both products at no cost for 60 days, after which discounted rates apply.
That offer will remain good at least through the end of the year, Welch says, noting that WatchGuard has also rolled out virtual marketing materials in recent months for partners used to in-person marketing events and face-to-face sales meetings. “We have out of the box digital marketing programs located in our portal that either our partners’ marketing agencies or their in-house teams can leverage.”
More recently, WatchGuard has begun developing training materials and other resources aimed at helping partners design and deploy more mature remote work security solutions in 2021 and beyond.
“In this new normal, what does long-term work-from-home security look like? It’s not just push out a VPN and hope you’re great,” Welch says. “We’re calling it ‘work from home phase two.'”
There’s more post-acquisition onboarding for Panda and its products up ahead as well. “The next big priority is getting the endpoint technology into WatchGuard Cloud, which is our centralized management platform,” Welch says. “We’re aiming for early summer next year to have that fully integrated.”