Channel partner programs, Enterprise, Content, Networking

Check Point Software Partner Program Shows Progress, CFO Says

Frank Rauch, head of worldwide channels, Check Point Software Technologies
Frank Rauch, head of worldwide channel sales, Check Point Software Technologies
Tal Payne, CFO, Check Point Software Technologies

Cybersecurity specialist Check Point Software Technologies is gaining traction with its new partner program, according to CFO Tal Payne. However, the program is still in its early days, and Check Point is learning quickly based on an incentive and award program that's similar to the airline industry, she added.

Payne shared the comments during Check Point Software Technologies' Q2 2019 earnings call on July 24. To lead the partner program, the cybersecurity company recruited VMware veteran Frank Rauch as head of worldwide channel sales in January 2019.

During the earnings call, Payne compared the new partner program to an airline loyalty program. "Just like airlines, we can reward and give more points to activities that we feel are more important," she said. I think that’s quite a unique approach. I haven’t seen lot of similar things in our marketplace."

Check Point Partner Program: Taking Flight

Although the program is in its early days, a "nice percentage of our partners have already signed up and are using the app," Payne said. Moreover, more than 70 percent of Check Point's top partners have signed up for the program and have started using the associated applications, he added.

"We’re seeing good activity level, but it is just the beginning," Payne said. "I think that we will have a lot of learning during the implementation of it because it is a novel approach" based on measuring, incentivizing and rewarding various activities, he noted.

The channel partner effort was mentioned multiple times during the earnings call and in the earnings release. But in a potential missed opportunity, the company focused most of its channel comments toward VARs, and failed to mention the growing ecosystem of MSPs (managed IT services providers) and MSSPs (managed security services providers).

Check Point Software Technologies: Cloud Evolution

Check Point and many of its rivals are evolving from on-premises hardware and software toward virtual applications hosted in public clouds -- typically Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and perhaps even Google Cloud Platform.

The transition will take numerous years as some VARs and customers continue to hold fast to on-premises hardware and/or software. Still, most of the major market growth now involves cloud services -- a reality that has prompted such Check Point rivals as Cisco Systems, Palo Alto Networks and SonicWall to increasingly engage MSPs and MSSPs.

Check Point is certainly moving its offerings toward the public cloud. For instance, recent incentives give VARs extra rewards for customer purchases of CloudGuard IaaS through AWS & Azure marketplaces. Plus, the new Engage app, mentioned by Payne during the earnings call, enables even closer partner relationships to boost sales activities, the company says.

Check Point Software Technologies: Financial Results

For its Q2 of fiscal 2019, Check Point said:

  • Total revenue was $488 million, up 4 percent from $468 million in corresponding quarter last year.
  • GAAP net income was $186 million, down from $198 million in corresponding quarter last year.

The revenues generally met Wall Street's expectations and the earnings beat expectations.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.