By Jonathan Maresky, CloudGuard Product Marketing Manager, published September 4, 2020
Looking back on Microsoft’s 2020 financial year (“FY20”), which ended June 30, Check Point has many reasons to celebrate the expanding partnership between with Microsoft:
Firstly, Check Point is Microsoft’s #1 global ISV (Independent Software Vendor) partner for FY20, as measured by co-sell wins. This achievement reflects the business impact of the partnership as well as the strategic technology, product, marketing and sales alignment between Microsoft and Check Point.
Secondly, Check Point is Microsoft’s #1 security ISV. Thousands of Microsoft customers value Check Point as a trusted cloud security advisor in their migrations to Azure, multi- and hybrid-cloud. Check Point cloud security solutions protect their cloud assets, help them gain confidence in the cloud and underpin their digital transformation journey.
Another reason to celebrate—and the focus of this blog post—is Check Point’s success in Azure Marketplace, as shown by Microsoft awarding Check Point its US Partner Award for Commercial Marketplace a few weeks ago.
In order to understand the award, let’s dig into some of Microsoft’s business objectives with Azure Marketplace.
Azure Marketplace is an industry leader:
The public cloud vendors’ Marketplaces are a very exciting business arena, and have been consistently growing in size in the last few years, often faster than the cloud vendors’ (already high) revenue growth. Each cloud vendor’s Marketplace provides a “self-service” portal for customers to purchase products and services from the vendor’s technology and channel partners.
Azure Marketplace partners are critical for Microsoft’s cloud strategy
The Marketplace is potentially a valuable win-win-win for the vendor, its customers and its ecosystem partners for a number of reasons, including:
- For the cloud vendor, the Marketplace strengthens its ecosystem and provides an important co-sell opportunity for its partners. (Imagine what would happen if the cloud vendor launched a Marketplace with very few 3rd-party offerings?). The cloud vendor also charges the partner a small percentage of sales. Microsoft uses the transaction fee revenue for “the Marketplace Rewards program, platform innovation, and marketplace operations”.
- For the customer, the Marketplace provides the opportunity to purchase 3rd-party products and services, which would otherwise require a lengthy procurement and negotiation process, and pay for these as a line item in their cloud vendor’s monthly bill. The cloud vendor generally reviews these offerings, thus providing some level of guarantee of their quality and suitability. Customers may often receive free trials of these offerings; many offerings are also designed to deploy easily into the customer’s Azure deployment.
- For the ecosystem partner, the Marketplace provides an additional option to market and sell its products and services globally. Because of the Marketplace’s “self-service” status, the sales process normally requires less sales time and resources, and this sales process is thus globally scalable, something that is often beyond the reach of smaller partners without global sales teams.
Check Point is a leading security partner on Azure Marketplace…
Check Point has a number of cloud security offerings in Azure Marketplace including CloudGuard, where Azure customers can trial and purchase Check Point’s cloud network security solution for advanced threat prevention.
This offering includes a special trial offer from Microsoft and Check Point: Customers receive a free 30-day evaluation license of CloudGuard Network Security, US$1000 in Azure compute credits from Microsoft (not valid for CSPs) and a 30-minute Q&A session with a Check Point cloud security expert.
… which helps drive Azure consumption and grow the Azure business
I don’t know all the considerations behind Microsoft’s decision and the priority of each consideration, but I can provide insights into some of the possible reasons.
Firstly, the Check Point offerings on Azure Marketplace are very successful in terms of annual and recurring revenue. However, I don’t believe that revenue is Microsoft’s only consideration.
Secondly, the offerings demonstrated impressive growth in the last year, including a 27% increase in the number of customers and a 246% increase in the normalized usage hours. In other words, once customers gain confidence in the cloud, their cloud usage grows quickly, due to the migration of new workloads to the cloud as well as the increased usage of the previously migrated workloads.
Check Point ♥ Marketplace Rewards
For ISV partners who release Marketplace offerings to Azure customers, Microsoft provides Marketplace Rewards: marketing, sales and technical benefits, which grow depending on the partner’s Marketplace sales. Check Point’s level of Marketplace sales provides us with a wide range of benefits, which we utilized as much as possible, including:
- Our cloud network security and cloud posture management capabilities were featured in an Azure Marketplace blog post in 2019, which helped to raise product and company brand awareness and exposure.
- The Microsoft marketing team helped to drive awareness and amplify social media promotion of joint Microsoft and Check point events, including the Azure Marketplace tweet below for a joint webinar in February
- Another great social promotion was when Check Point won a Microsoft Security 20/20 Partner Award earlier this year.
- We received a valuable benefit from the Marketplace Rewards program: a joint webinar to Azure customers in April, where a Check Point cloud security expert co-presented with two Azure experts, including content about Azure Marketplace. The Marketplace Rewards team told us afterwards that this was the most successful webinar in terms of registrations and attendees, but perhaps this is due to the webinar’s timing at the beginning of the Coronavirus work-from-home period.
- We also highlighted some more technical and product-related aspects of our cloud network security solution, and how well it conforms to Microsoft’s best practices, in this Azure Marketplace Blog.
- The Marketplace Rewards team is working to approve and post one of our customer success stories in the Microsoft website. Until then, please enjoy some of our Azure customer stories from:
In conclusion, there are many reasons for Microsoft to award Check Point the US Partner of the Year award for Azure Marketplace and we are looking forward to an even more successful FY21.
If your organization is already using Azure or planning your Azure migration, please schedule a demo or contact us, and a cloud security engineer will review your plans and provide their experienced insights.
You can read the Check Point cloud security blueprint:
- The first document introduces the blueprint and describes the key cloud security concepts and architectural principles that must underlie any cloud security blueprint.
- The second document covers the architecture of the blueprint, explains how Check Point’s cloud security solutions help you implement the blueprint, and how these address the cloud security challenges and architectural principles that were outlined in the first document.
Check Point will be attending Microsoft Ignite on September 22-24. Look out for our blog post before the event.
If you have any questions, please contact your local Check Point account representative or partner, or contact us here.