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Manakoa Unveils Partner Program, Compliance Tools

If you’ve been searching for an effective way to get your foot in the door at client sites, Robert Williams thinks he may have just the ticket: regulatory compliance.

Williams is CEO of Manakoa Services Corp., based in Kennewick, Wash. Manakoa makes software tools to help organizations assess their security posture and determine whether they are in compliance with various federal regulations, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Gramm Leach Bliley Act (GLBA), Sarbanes Oxley and the Federal Information System Management Act (FISMA). The Manakoa tools run on top of or integrate with various Microsoft products, including Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM), Active Directory, SQL Server and Windows Server 2003 – enabling partners to sell not only the Manakoa software, but the ancillary Microsoft products.

“It gets [partners] in the door in an effective way, talking about compliance,” Williams says. “They can get visibility in a way they couldn’t before – because the boss has to stay out of jail.”

At the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference earlier this month, Manakoa formally unveiled its flagship product, Manakoa Compliance Services (MCS) and announced the launch of its partner program.

MCS enables companies to collect information about their IT assets in a single repository and manage it in a way that ensures they are in compliance with various regulations. The product integrates with Active Directory, enabling users to take advantage of policy and procedure info stored there. It helps users create a repeatable and measurable process for ensuring regulatory compliance, Williams says.

MCS also allows users to collect asset data once and apply it to different compliance routines. The company offers Compliance Auditing Management Packs (CAMP) for four federal regulatory statutes: HIPAA, GLBA, FISMA and Sarbanes Oxley. The CAMP modules run on top of MOM 2005 and provide a plan of attack for getting into compliance as well as ongoing reports, controls and audits to ensure systems remain in compliance.

The company is looking for partners to sell the tools into verticals most affected by the regulations, including health care, financial services and government, says Ed Nichols, senior vice president of business development for Manakoa. Its partner program will have three tiers – bronze, silver and gold – corresponding to how much Manakoa software the partner sells. The company will provide free training and support, and there are currently no fees to participate.

“We can increase the expertise of a partner and allow them to enter a new field, such as regulatory compliance, or deliver a new offering to an existing environment they’re in,” Nichols says. The tools also help partners create an ongoing relationship with customers, helping them ensure they remain in compliance with relevant regulations.

Manakoa some deep roots in the security and risk management realm, and counts three Microsoft security MVPs among its employees, including Williams, who has 30 years of computer and security experience. Williams previously founded Secure Logistix in the wake of the anthrax attacks at the U.S. Postal Service. James Riviere, who at the time was in charge of managing the anthrax incident at a critical postal facility, called on Williams to develop risk management models to assess where contaminated equipment and letters may have gone.

Once the crisis was over, Williams figured there had to be other uses for his risk management models. They became the foundation of the Manakoa technology—and Riviere now sits on the company’s board.

About the Author

Paul Desmond, the founding editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine, is president of the IT publishing firm PDEdit in Southborough, Mass. Reach him at paul@pdedit.com.

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