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Software maker OneTrust is revamping its partner program to better address the security and privacy concerns that are becoming more prominent with the rapid adoption by enterprises of AI technologies in their operations.

The Atlanta-based company is expanding the program to offer third-party partners like independent software vendors (ISVs), value-added resellers (VARs), managed service providers (MSPs) and managed security service providers (MSSPs) avenues to grow their AI expertise and training as well as incentives for earning more money when dealing with organizations that are bringing AI tools into their environments.

“As businesses around the world embark on AI-driven transformations, they need robust data privacy, security and risk solutions to ensure trusted innovation,” Shawn Toldo, senior vice president of OneTrust’s global partner ecosystem, said in a statement. “By empowering our partners and alliances to build out a deeper services capability, we can help our shared customers to realize even more value from the OneTrust platform.”

AI Comes with Security, Privacy Worries

AI, particularly in this time of explosive growth of innovation and adoption of generative AI technologies, promises to improve the way enterprises run their businesses, but it also comes with its share of security concerns, particularly around data. Organizations are looking for ways to incorporate proprietary and sensitive corporate data in the training of their large language models (LLMs), which are foundational to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Gemini, Microsoft’s Copilot and myriad other generative AI tools.

The data going into the LLMs needs to be protected to comply with the growing number of regulations around security and privacy, including PCI, HIPAA, and Europe’s GDPR. OneTrust’s three-tiered partner program – the levels being Authorized, Certified and Trusted – delivers benefits to third parties and lets organizations more identify the expertise those partners have, the vendor said.

“As AI is rapidly being adopted by organizations, the enhanced resources and certifications offered by OneTrust can help us provide our clients with more holistic and innovative solutions to reduce risk and deliver value to their businesses,” Lindsay Hohler, principal of cyber and privacy at accounting firm Grant Thornton, said in a statement.

Enablement and Training are Key

OneTrust’s program enhancements include enablement resources and certifications that can be accessed via the vendor’s partner and certification portals to expand their capabilities and move up the tiers. In addition, they’ll be able to work with OneTrust’s subject-matter experts, which include specialists in such areas as products, service and support, sales, go-to-market efforts and delivery processes.

Also through the partner portal, third parties will get training and support, deal referral and registration, marketing resources, pricing and support. In addition, technology partners will get a partner tenant and sandbox. OneTrust also is offering co-marketing, training, and other incentives and access to other OneTrust resources and the vendor’s Trusted Partner Community to exchange expertise, collaborate and build connections.

In addition, there will be a larger portfolio of referral commission and deal registration discounts. OneTrust expects to roll out the enhanced partner program in August.

Prioritization is on Target

OneTrust did well prioritizing what’s important for partners that want to help enterprises with their AI plans, because rather than leading with financial incentives, it focused on partner enablement first and then co-marketing and training, according to Chris Gonsalves, vice president of research at Channelnomics.

“Where OneTrust … and others like them can do their best work is to help the partners understand where enterprises are likely to get themselves in trouble, what kinds of things they’re doing with their data that are problematic when it comes to rolling them up into AI models, and then arming them with the best, most modern, most robust techniques that we have available to us to ensure AI modeling protects user privacy,” Gonsalves told Techstrong.ai.

A Channelnomics study of MSPs and MSSPs – which Gonsalves called the “vanguards of this AI movement” – found enthusiasm for the task mixed with a lack of readiness that programs like OneTrust’s may be able help.

“Are they excited about the prospects? Overwhelmingly, yes,” he said. “Do they believe it’s going to radically change their businesses? Overwhelmingly, yes. But are they prepared to take advantage of that today? No.”

They don’t understand the use cases they should be focusing on and, most importantly, don’t have the skills they need to take advantage of their primary opportunities, reflecting an industry-wide struggle to find AI talent. Programs like OneTrust’s, which focus on enablement and training as well as financial incentives, can help, Gonsalves said.