Carbon Black channel chief Marco Corrent opens up about security vendor's Australian strategy

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This article appeared in the August 2018 issue of CRN magazine.

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Carbon Black channel chief Marco Corrent opens up about security vendor's Australian strategy
Marco Corrent, Carbon Black

Marco Corrent has led the channel business for Carbon Black since 2017, following a career that included Tanium, Hewlett Packard and Cisco.

Journey

I was working in the endpoint space at Tanium, then Kane Lightowler approached me and asked if I’d like to come over and work with Carbon Black.

The reason I made the decision is that Carbon Black had a really good partner model. We could address partners here in Australia that talk to customers with anything from 50 endpoints to over 20,000 endpoints.

The partner program allows us to address the range of customers in the Australian market.

Our customers tend to range from 100 users up to 7000 users. Enterprise customers they general go higher than that, between 7000 and 15,000 endpoints.

We were able to address a variety of verticals within that customer base. The program addresses [managed security service provider] partners, which is an area of the market growing at an exponential rate.

There’s also an incident response program. That allows specialist partners to use our technologies after there’s been an incident breach. Then our existing [value-added reseller] program that addresses sell-to partners that are selling licences directly to customers and wrapping services around this. Being a channel guy, it’s very important to me to be able to work in a company that embraces channel.

Our chief executive, Patrick Morley, has spent time in the channel during his career, so he recognises the requirement to become a real channel-focused vendor, and the challenges that partners have with vendors that are not channel focused.

New partner program

We launched a new partner program in April this year. We’ve got premier, select, and registered partners. The higher up the chain you go, the more resources we provide.

We’re 100 percent channel. You’ve probably heard that spoken many, many times, but we physically cannot take a direct purchase order.

We work through a distribution channel. Our distributor is M.Tech in Australia, and Duo in New Zealand.

Partners

We work with large integrators and telcos like Dimension Data, DXC, Optus and Telstra.

They have established businesses and we work with their security practices.

We work with new specialist partners such as The Missing Link Security and other security-focused partners. We work with a broad spectrum of partners that offer value-added services rather than partners who just provide licensing to customers.

Heritage

It is important to note that Carbon Black’s technology was derived from people who worked for the NSA.

This is something not spoken about, and I believe it should be, because it gives an understanding of our heritage and where we came from.

They developed our technology based on the tactics, techniques and procedures that the adversaries use. So we come from a heritage of a really deep understanding of security.

Customers

There are some government agencies that use our technology extensively. The customer base varies from schools, insurance companies, banks, building and construction companies along with utilities. So we address a broad range of industries and the cyber security challenges that they face.

The adversaries are becoming sophisticated, an example being you might have a building company that has a contract with a government department. The adversary then breaches that company and uses that environment as a launching pad to gain access to the targeted environment.

Lessons

Partners now are more important than they ever were. I’ve been a partner guy for a long time so it’s part of my culture.

My takeaway is getting the partners engaged earlier in the sales cycle. We work closely with my sales team to get the partners engaged earlier.

Why? So they can add their services, wrap them around what we are offering. Partners want to be involved, to be able to sell their offering to the customer, not just resell the licence.

What I try and do is engage that partner earlier on into an opportunity with our sales people so the customer is seeing Carbon Black alongside the partner, not Carbon Black with the partner in the shadows.

I think that differentiates us in the market. A lot of the times, you have the vendor first and the partner is just used for fulfilment.

Future

In Australia, I see us becoming one of the key endpoint players in the market, to rival the likes of incumbent players like Symantec, McAfee, Sophos, Kaspersky – all of the incumbent players that traditionally work in this space.

Gartner actually said that successful endpoint security vendors of the future will be the vendors that adopt a lightweight agent and cloud model. This allows all of the analytics to be done in the cloud, all the heavy lifting done in the cloud, and the customer enjoys the benefits of cloud-based offerings without having to overload their endpoint agents.

We’ve got that architecture, we’ve laid the foundations for that. For us moving forward, the future’s quite exciting.

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