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New Cisco Reseller Program Targets SMBs

Cisco Systems continues its courtship of the small and midsized business market with a newly announced reseller specialization program. The company is aiming its Security Virtual Private Network/Firewall Express specialization at channel partners that serve small businesses and first-time buyers of network equipment.

Resellers who participate in the program will receive formal training and ten points toward their certification badge. The VPN/Firewall Express training is based on existing course work and certifications, and Cisco says that resellers can use it as a starting point for more advanced security specializations. Upon completion of the program, resellers will be recognized on Cisco's partner locator as a Security VPN/Firewall specialized partner.

The VPN/Firewall specialization is part of a push that Cisco has been making in the SMB market through its channel partners over the last four months. The company created its SMB Select partners program in July and the Opportunity Incentive Program, offering rebates to resellers in the SMB market in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, in September.

Cisco is targeting SMBs because it represents a sizable and fast-growing technology market. It estimates that the market for SMB networking is $10 billion today, and growing at a compound annual rate of 15 to 20 percent. Peter Alexander, Cisco Vice President for worldwide commercial marketing, estimates that Cisco has 44 percent of the SMB networking market share.

Cisco's resellers are key to its SMB success. They account for more than 90 percent of the company's sales in the SMB market.

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