Bruce Burns talked with me about a month ago about a new market development program he was initiating - the SecureIT Alliance - and now that it's announced I can finally write about it. More information is here, but careful before you click - it's a Word document.
I got excited about it right away - of the dozen or so security vendors I've worked with in the last few months, all of them had one "ask" in common - "how can we be published somewhere significant as a trusted Microsoft security partner?" The big challenge in startups is not only differentiating from the crowd, but in turning large partners into channels - whether marketing/lead-gen channels or true indirect sales (even harder!). In this process the friend-or-foe antigen response among the sales force is often the most dangerous phenomenon. What we want most in big-company business development is for the default reaction to be "friend" ... much harder than it sounds. It turns out to be much easier to deal with other big companies in this way than with startups.
I told Bruce I had to have a half-dozen slots reserved for great security startups - we could have an alliance of market leaders and the next-generation innovators, something that would be good for both. He saw it the same way, so we (Emerging Business Team) jumped to get our partners in.
So I was happy, but not shocked, when Voltage Security, Vormetric, e-Security, Network Intelligence, and Forum Systems accepted our offer and entered the alliance. These are great companies, and I am really looking forward to this ... and I think the alliance members will only benefit from having more next-gen innovators enter. If you're a VC-backed security startup and want to join, contact me and we can figure out how to get you started. There's a community developing here - and it is going to drive revenue and real customer context.