Cloudflare Partner Program Now Supports SASE & Zero Trust Managed Services
Tune in to learn from Matthew Harrell, Cloudflare’s Head of Channel Sales & Partnerships, and Ash DSouza, Partner Operations and Strategy, about the next evolution of the Cloudflare Channel and Alliances Partner Program — enabling partners to provide services around Cloudflare products with recurring revenue streams as they equip businesses of all sizes and types with Cloudflare’s leading Zero Trust and SASE solutions.
Read the blog post for more details: Cloudflare Partner Program Now Supports SASE & Zero Trust Managed Services
Hey folks, welcome to Cloudflare TV. This session is about Cloudflare's partner program, which now supports SASE and Zero Trust managed services.
Joining us today are Matthew Harrell and Ash DSouza.
Thanks both for joining us. Why don't we start off with a quick introduction from each of you.
Jason, thanks for having us. Yeah, my name is Matt Harrell.
I lead our, I'm global head of channels and alliances here at Cloudflare.
And my name's Ash DSouza, and I lead our global partner operations strategy and programs team.
Awesome. Well, really psyched to have you. Now, why don't we start from the top?
For someone who, you know, I know about Cloudflare's partner program, but for our viewers who don't, why don't you share a little bit about what does this entail?
Who are Cloudflare's partners and what do they do? Yeah, so why don't I start there, Jason?
Great question. So I think at a very high level, you know, we have, we've been on this journey for the last three years in terms of building out our channel ecosystem.
We've seen very strong demand for participating as part of the Cloudflare program.
One of the encouraging things we've seen is that there's been a wide range of different types of partners that would like to participate and be part of the Cloudflare program.
And one of the things we've noticed recently is there's been a huge upsurge both in the application process in terms of the number of applications that itself identifies as managed services.
And we wanted to create a program that could make sure we met the needs of those managed service providers.
And so what we've announced here is an enhancement to our program to do two things, to do a couple things.
One is to make sure we're addressing the needs of managed services providers who have unique business models.
So making sure we can address that. The second thing is we expanded the program to include additional products.
So there's a huge market opportunity, as you know, Jason, around Zero Trust.
And we wanna make sure that we have the partner program in place to support our partners getting enabled and trained and accredited, and that we have the right partner programs to support our Zero Trust model.
So those are the big components of the program that we announced here recently.
Awesome, very exciting. And do you wanna talk a little bit, why is SASE and why are Zero Trust?
I hear about these things. Do you wanna tell us a little bit, what are those and why are we so excited about those and why are partners excited about those?
Yeah, I mean, Zero Trust, it's a new paradigm in terms of how you look at security and what that allows in a SaaS based world where all the applications are getting very fragmented and diversified and people are logging in from remote locations, making sure you have the right security architecture to support and protect remote employees is extremely important.
And the Zero Trust architecture takes advantage of the distributed nature of our global network to ensure that when users log in, that there's a trust component to ensuring that they are who they say they are and to make sure you're protecting the corporate networks.
So a very good use case, for example, is VPN, traditional VPNs, which are hardware based and traditionally hardwired back to the corporate offices.
What we've done through our global network is supported the Zero Trust architecture and allowed it very seamless for employees to connect to corporate resources.
And I can speak to that.
Internally at Cloudflare, we use Cloudflare access or our Zero Trust solution and not having to jump through a bunch of VPN hoops is really just night and day compared to the process, the old kind of castle remote model.
And I know there are many security benefits, but just from a UX perspective, it's just a huge leap forward.
Yeah, huge leap forward. And I think the other thing is around usability and how easy we make it for companies to deploy and to leverage a Zero Trust model.
So I think that's the single pane of glass of the dashboard and how we architect our product, 100% cloud -based makes it very easy to manage as well, deploy and manage, big differentiated value for our Zero Trust products.
Got it. And why don't you share a little bit more? My understanding is we have these new program paths for partners.
So if I'm a partner and I'm sort of curious what that entails, you want to expand a little bit on what that means?
Yeah, Ash, do you want to take that one, Ash?
Kick that over to Ash. Yeah, absolutely.
So basically we looked at designing our program to appeal to partners that have different business models.
So we've got the elite path that's really focused on partners that are looking to serve large enterprise customers with managed services.
And we've really tailored the program offering that we've designed to provide them the right support and resources to help them be successful doing that.
In addition to that, we've also designed what we would call the advanced year in which the managed service provider looks to serve small and medium business customers with Cloudflare products and really wrap services around Cloudflare products to deliver better outcomes to customers.
And then we've got a program path designed around that as well.
So really we understand at Cloudflare that partners don't fit into nice little boxes, but we wanted to make sure we had a program that really appealed to managed service providers looking to serve SMBs as well as large enterprises as well.
Got it. So in other words, folks who may or may not have been a fit for partners before, now there's a lot more opportunities there potentially work with Cloudflare products.
When we initially came up with our revised partner program back in June of 2019, what we really focused on is partners that are typically resellers and referral partners.
So the program back then was designed to cater to those business models.
And then over time, we saw a lot of interest from the partner community was in really taking the Cloudflare products and wrapping the services around that.
So then as our products evolved, as our APIs evolved, we really reached a point in time where we now believe that we have matured to a point where we can work hand in hand with partners in offering services to customers around Cloudflare products.
So really excited as we look to learn over the next, I would say six to 12 months as this new program matures as well, what the needs of the partners are and then really how we can bring our complementary strengths together to deliver better outcomes to customers.
And have we heard any reactions from partners, existing partners, new partners?
What are folks saying about this?
Well, we've had very anecdotally, Jason, we've had very strong interest. As I said before, from the application process, again, we receive a very large number of applications from partners who wanna join our program and a lot of them self-identify as a managed service provider.
That's one data point. The second one, I think from a pricing perspective is we wanna make it easy for our partners to work with Cloudflare.
And one of the feedback we've received through our partner surveys is they are looking for an easier licensing plan.
And that's part of also what we've addressed to this is an MSP specific pricing plan to make it much easier for partners to engage with Cloudflare.
And then the third component, we have received anecdotal feedback from some of our large strategic partners on their excitement around joining the program.
And we've actually already had a couple that we've activated that are currently utilizing the MSP program.
So I think all in all, we respond and we listen closely to our partner community.
And this is something that was top of mind for us wanting to deliver.
Yeah, thanks, Matt. And I'll just add a little bit to that.
We've also seen interest from prospects in our funnel as well that we've been in active conversations with asking how they could potentially transition their needs to be part of this managed service program.
And then a lot of our existing customers slash partners as well that are already part of our ecosystem and are working in different capacities with us be it a referral partner or a reseller partner.
We've seen some interest there as well that they reached out to us and have started inquiries on how they could start moving into this managed service program.
The one caveat I would put out there is we are still in early stages and we are making sure that we pick the right set of partners initially that we can support to the extent possible to deliver a high quality experience to those partners that are part of this program.
So the initial intent is to have a limited set of partners that are going to be part of that cohort where we learn and mature the services program and then we'll really move it to general availability later in this year.
So that's one caveat I just want to put out there.
Got it, makes sense. And do we want to talk a little bit more about accreditation credentials?
My understanding is we're expanding there. Yeah, that's a big call Jason.
So big focus for us obviously is, we focused heavily on investing in training and accreditation, recognizing that in order for us to be extension of our sales and SE organization, we need to have partners who are trained to understand how to position our product, how to deliver POCs and demos and how to actually deliver the onboarding experience.
So that's key to what we've done.
And what we've done from expansion perspective is two things. One is we've expanded the accreditation so now partners can earn, actually earn and manage services accreditation, which is a big step forward in terms of the acknowledgement in the industry about differentiating their value, that they've reached that accreditation status.
And then the second thing is around the product level is making sure that partners can also differentiate in terms of their knowledge around certain products.
So we've launched Zero Trust training and certification around our product portfolio.
So the combination again, these paths and help our partners who join our program create differentiated value in terms of the ability of value they can deliver to their customers.
Got it. I know that's super important. Yep. And I know we've also announced, we're talking about these new support and go to market motions.
We've got technical services managers and partner success, tenant API provisioning, MSP-only licensing plan.
Can you expand on what are these new motions? Yeah, Ash, you wanna take that one, Ash?
Sure, just to answer the question, really looking at how are we gonna go to market with partners and all the support that we're gonna bring to bear to ensure partners are successful?
That's actually a great question.
If you look at like the last few years of Cloudflare, our partner business has grown tremendously with the organizational understanding of how to work with partners as well.
So now looking at the partners we have in our ecosystem today, we've reached a point where we have increased investments we are making both from a partner success standpoint, where we are going to ensure that we have partner success managers deployed globally that will work with our top tier partners in basically guiding them on how to effectively manage a customer journey with Cloudflare.
So that's been a big shift for us. And it's a testament to the organizational commitment to help our partners be successful.
In addition to that, we are also contemplating making investments in partner customer success engineers as well, which will basically be a new role that we hope to deploy in the future that will help partners as they look to managing customer onboarding, mainly from a technical standpoint.
And then we also have what we call service delivery managers.
That's another team that we've put in place really focused on helping partners conceive of services around Cloudflare products.
This could be migration services, it could be proof of concept.
We understand that a partner's journey with Cloudflare requires a lot of handholding as they get to maturity.
And we wanted to make sure that internally we had the right teams that were basically focused on helping partners in different areas of competency, ensuring that they could then embrace what Cloudflare does for customers and build a lot of that in -house.
So we really look at building the services ecosystem around Cloudflare, with partners really playing different roles based on their respective business models with the end goal of just helping customers achieve better outcomes.
And for anyone who hasn't seen the blog post, you can check it out. There's a link below this video right now.
And there's one table I want to talk a little bit about.
It kind of breaks out. There's a section about advisory services, professional services, managed services, and then you've got these Cloudflare products going along the other axis.
And I'm curious, do you want to talk a little bit about this?
It sounds like we've got sort of different options depending on the different degrees of support these customers are looking for and that partners are offering.
Do you want to expand a little bit on that? Sure, Jason. So that leads on really well to Ash's comments about the organizational investments.
And one of the areas is service delivery managers. And what that speaks to and what we've recognized is that all customers have unique needs.
And what we want to make sure we're doing is creating opportunities for our partners to service those needs.
And some of the areas where we've heard and we've seen demand around our products is in three areas.
One is around advisory services. As you know, Jason, Zero Trust and SASE are frameworks.
They're high-level frameworks. In a lot of cases, a lot of customers require guidance in terms of how to move from an on-premise infrastructure to a cloud-based model.
And we have partners who are engaged in developing the strategy and doing things like assessments to help the customer understand what that journey looks like.
And the second component is the professional services, which is the one -time deployment and implementation work.
So as companies migrate off existing incumbent technology, they need services help to help deploy that new technology.
And the third one is managed, where customers say, listen, I don't want to manage this.
I want a managed outcome. I want to pay someone to actually do the work professionally and then also do the ongoing maintenance and management of that system.
And we want to enable all of those different types of services through our program.
Those are the types of services we're seeing demand for, and those are the types of services we want to enable our partners to deliver.
Awesome. You know, there's so many different companies out there that need all these different levels of service.
It's great to hear that we're offering, you know, opportunities to assist all of them.
So let me ask this, if I'm a partner or a prospective partner listening to this, and I'm like, you know what?
This sounds just like what I'm looking for. What should I do next? So I'll take that one.
I would recommend that the partners that are interested in this program to go to our partner portal.
You can find that at portal.Cloudflarepartners .com.
And then there's an apply button over there where you can fill out a form and then specify that the partner program you're interested in is the services partner program.
And then when you submit that application, it allows you to then join our wait list.
As I mentioned earlier, we are looking to keep the initial cohort extremely small and focused to ensure we can give them the high touch experience that will enable them to be successful.
And then we'll scale the program to general availability.
So by joining the wait list, we'll make sure that the partners that are interested in our offering will receive notifications as we progress through getting this program close to general availability, as well as when we launch that program to be accessible to partners everywhere.
And are there any other takeaways, anything that we haven't touched on from the blog post or otherwise that we wanna talk about?
Yeah, I'll make two other data points.
I think one thing that's unique, you haven't asked about differentiated value there, Jason, but I thought what I'd address a little bit around what makes us different.
I think a couple of key things is the global network.
Obviously it's very unique. We have a very large distributed network and everything that's built, it's all purpose built to support the application we build on top of it.
And I think we've got a very, very strong story there. The other thing is that we have a broad platform.
So we see a unification of security and networking needs that we can address through our broad platform of applications which is super exciting and creates a differentiated opportunity.
And then the other thing too, is I think we have a very easy, we have technology that works really well and it's easy to implement and maintain which is a key differentiator as well.
So as customers are looking to simplify their security architecture, I think we have a very strong value proposition for them to...
Yeah, that's a really good point, Matt.
And I'll probably just add a little bit more color there. There are a lot of Zero Trust options out there.
A lot of them are different products cobbled together into a Zero Trust solution.
Whereas when you think about Cloudflare's offering, we have a single platform and it's really built from the ground up to have all the different components built into it as like it was created.
So definitely from a simplicity standpoint, as Matt mentioned, our offering is superior in that it allows customers that are looking to have a simplified architecture to achieve that with Cloudflare.
And it also helps partners as well because when you think about partners offering services around products, a platform like Cloudflare is easier to implement and maintain.
So it's easier for partners to understand what we do and then learn how to implement and support Cloudflare as well.
So we're really excited to engage with partners as we scale this program and really delivering what I would call a simpler solution to customers that they can get up and running faster.
Awesome. Well, I gotta say, it's been such a pleasure talking to you about these new enhancements to the partner program.
And I'm sure there are lots of partners and prospective partners who are really excited about this.
So again, let's give them that link one more time.
Where should they head to potentially sign up? Yeah, thanks for that, Jason.
It's portal .Cloudflarepartners.com. And we're excited to receive the application and join our wait list.
We'll keep you posted on the latest developments on where we are with making this program generally available.
And we look forward to working with you in the near future.
And Jason, thank you so much for your insightful questions.
Really excited to have been part of this. Thank you.
Yeah, thank you, Jason. All right. Thanks, Ash and Matt. And everyone, stay tuned on Cloudflare TV for more great stuff coming up next.
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