Specialty distributor brings in unknown security vendors

Tired of the same old security solutions from the top vendors such as Symantec, McAfee, Trend Micro and Kaspersky Labs? Well, a little know specialty distributor from Gatineau, Que., called Channel Marketing International (CMI) is banking on the channel being sick of delivering the same security solutions from the same top vendors and has create a business model to capture new and innovative security solutions from across the globe and bring them to Canada through the channel.

Currently, CMI has only eight vendors on its line card. They are: Accellion, AccelOps, AirTight Networks, BAE Systems, CoreTrace, Deep Secure, Tabernus and TechGuard Security. None of these company’s solutions overlap.

“CMI has a 100 per cent channel commitment. We are focused on security and more specifically new security venders who have new technology and no presence in Canada,” said Ken Lewis, vice president of sales and marketing at CMI.

Lewis continued by saying that the company has security vendors such as TechGuard who have produced solutions for the Treasury Board and the Department of National Defense. “These companies have no channel and no channel program and do not know much about the Canadian market and we can introduce them to this channel community,” he added.

Recently CMI hosted a security oriented event at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa that drew a large crowd and exposed channel players, customers and government officials to security vendors signed up by CMI such as TechGuard.

The key to the success of the event was that CMI marketed it to the end user community and then invited VARs, Lewis said. This is a big portion of CMI’s strategy; to drive from the end user up to the channel.

For the event, the security vendors came from the U.K., Israel and Australia. Some of these vendors, according to Lewis, signed on to come to the Canadian market and bypass the more lucrative U.S. market. The biggest challenge for Lewis and the team at CMI is to educate these security vendors that Canada is not the U.S. and has to be treated differently.

“We want to differentiate ourselves from the rest who are going to market with the same solution,” Lewis said.

When CMI looks at a new vendor opportunity they look for a new technology that makes a difference and it’s the same approach the company takes in recruiting VAR partners.

“We want to create an opportunity to add onto what the VAR has now and we don’t want to displace McAfee or Symantec,” Lewis said.

An example of this is AccelOps, a white label security box that VARs can sell as their own.

Another part of the plan is to limit the number of VAR partners for each security vendor on CMI’s line card. How it works is CMI looks to five VARs to partner up with any of the new security vendors. Territory exclusivity is a possibility if the VAR is committed to the new security vendor, Lewis said.

“I want the VAR to make good money on this,” he added.

To support this effort, CMI is currently hiring professional services people to help VARs with technical requirements. A part of its business value, CMI wants to be a technical extension for the security vendor.


CMI may only have eight, but its plan is to grow to at least 11 by year’s end. The company has just signed security software vendor Clearswift into a distributor agreement to become its ninth vendor. CMI will help Clearswift deliver its Web and email security solutions to the Canadian market.

Clearswift’s Web and Email Gateways provide a comprehensive and integrated solution to manage inbound threats (including spam, malware viruses and phishing,) compliance, data loss and web 2.0 technologies such as social networking, enabling enterprises to confidently embrace today’s complex business landscape.


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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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