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Palo Alto Networks emphasises channel specialisations

Security player has seen partners start to line up behind its certification programme in the weeks since it launched its revised channel programme

Palo Alto is encouraging its partners to get certified on its core technology as a way of standing out from the crowd.

The firm recently updated its NextWave programme with version 3.0, which offers certifications around three main technology strands – secure access service edge (SASE), artificial intelligence (AI) detection, prevention and automation, and its cloud security solution set, Prisma Cloud.

At the same time, the firm extended its incentives, rebates and deal registration boosts for partners and supporting the channel with service delivery.

“Managed services, and various flavours of services, are becoming very important to customers in deploying cyber security solutions to achieve the outcomes they require, particularly because there is a skills gap in cyber security,” said Stuart Taylor, WEUR channel director at Palo Alto Networks.

“Our customers know they need the expertise and advice of our highly capable partners to make the right choices in a very dynamic cyber security market environment. We need partners to help customers to fit the outcomes that those customers need. As a business, the channel strategy is to enable partners that are willing to make strategic investments to develop skills, services, and go-to-market campaigns.”

Taylor said Palo Alto did not break down its numbers on a UK basis, but the market had been buoyant and partners had benefited. He added: “A significant proportion of our channel partners more than doubled their bookings with us in the last financial year, and the number of net new customers that we were gaining, along with customers investing in the platform approach, is greatly increasing.

“If I look at our partners that have done really well, the partners that we’ve seen thrive are those that have been able to help organisations accelerate their digital transformation journeys.

“Part of digital transformation as well is the flexible working capability and the kind of work-from-anywhere policies that organisations have had to implement.”

Customers appear to be only too aware of the need for increased data protection and earlier this week, managed services player Ensono shared research that listed it as a top concern for IT security professionals trying to embark on a multicloud strategy.

The channel player revealed that UK IT professionals rated security, governance and cost optimisation as their leading concerns.

Brian Klingbeil, chief strategy officer at Ensono, said customers were dealing with changing cloud environments. “Complex deployments like multicloud present a wide array of potential challenges,” he said. “Before a migration, businesses need to undertake a thorough audit of their existing applications and put together a comprehensive roadmap to the cloud. This planning will ensure that fundamentals like security, user experience and cost optimisation do not fall by the wayside in the journey to the cloud.

“Covid-19 has accelerated the need for innovation in IT, and leveraging public cloud is a particularly effective way to achieve this goal. With cloud talent and skills at a premium, working with a managed service provider is a great way to access this expertise and build a cloud strategy fit for the post-pandemic world.”

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