How Trellix is blazing a new partner trail in XDR security

How Trellix is blazing a new partner trail in XDR security

Energised by the ​combination of FireEye and McAfee Enterprise​ and squarely focused on XDR, this is a vendor leveraging decades of experience while shedding the baggage of traditional old-school operators.

Vicki Batka, Ed Baker and Sam Henderson (Trellix)

Vicki Batka, Ed Baker and Sam Henderson (Trellix)

Credit: Trellix

Trellix is gearing up for an aggressive assault on an expanding cyber security opportunity, combining market heritage with blank canvas flexibility as the new-look vendor builds an army of channel partners across the region.

Energised by the combination of FireEye and McAfee Enterprise and squarely focused on XDR (extended detection and response), this is a player leveraging decades of experience while shedding the baggage of traditional old-school operators.

Mature in expertise yet fresh in thinking -- the newly formed company is shaped by a “living security” philosophy and acknowledgement that as businesses battle cyber attacks on a daily basis, solutions must rapidly learn and adapt in response.

“We are approaching the market by understanding that the industry is evolving,” said Vicki Batka, Senior Vice President of Sales across Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) at Trellix.

“We talk about soulful work and feeling good about the work that we do. We are not here to just sell something, we are here to solve a problem and find ways to reduce complexity and create simplification.”

Central to such efforts is a commitment to ensuring security tools are easier to use while accelerating up-skilling initiatives and understanding customers possess a diverse stack of cyber solutions and offerings.

“How do we make life easier for businesses?” asked Batka, who joined the vendor in June 2022 from Cisco. “How do we ensure that our technology is open and able to integrate with other technologies through APIs? That’s not a typical security approach and this acts as an important differentiation for us -- we keep coming back to the customer which is critical.”

According to Grand View Research, the global XDR market totalled $754.8 million during the past 12 months, with an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.7 per cent forecast from 2023 to 2030. Double-digit growth of XDR solutions also dovetails into a regional market which invested more than $31 billion on security solutions and services in 2022, as noted by IDC.

In response, Batka said Trellix is positioning to “dominate” the XDR market, achieving market supremacy through openness and integration.

“We’re looking at what makes sense to us through a customer lens,” she added. “We are building the roadmap evolution over time and now the market is starting to see the products coming together and rebranded through the Trellix name.

“And we're bringing partners along that journey. We’re working with customers and partners and that is important because we won’t be successful without partners.”

In combining customer demand with partner support, Batka referenced the need to help organisations overcome ongoing skills shortages in a period of “doing more with less”.

“Customers and partners are finding it difficult to keep pace with the volume of attacks and vulnerabilities have just explored, so we need to ensure we find a way to bring in more people,” she said.

Noting diversity and inclusion (D&I), Batka also indicated that Trellix is seeking to “reflect what their users look like” and has taken steps to support training and development to nurture talent and lower the barriers to industry entry for people from all demographics and educational background.

“We need to be diverse in hiring,” she asserted. “We want to find ways to build our community and make this easier for our customers. If we do that, they will not be working 24/7 and feeling burned out.”

Prioritising partner growth

In looking ahead, Batka recognised that the ecosystem is “critical” in Trellix achieving ambitious growth goals across the region -- tapping into her long heritage of prioritising partners and championing the channel.

“We need to come together as one company,” she affirmed. “We have to keep the plates spinning and we've got to meet the customer demand today.

“We've got to be supporting the market through this transition and answering questions because as we bring everything together, there will be lots of questions that we need to answer to support our partners to make sure that we show up in the right way.”

Specific to the channel, Trellix is building out a differentiated path to partner growth aligned to four core opportunities, starting with the vendor’s “living security” philosophy.

“We want to change the game, be agile and bust the silos,” said Ed Baker, Vice President of Global Channel Sales at Trellix. “That’s a very compelling and empowering conversation for partners to have with customers and we think that allows the channel to drive more relevance and open up more budget.

“Secondly, we have an open heritage and that is evident through our XDR platform in that we integrate very easily with specialised players around us. Our third-party alliance vendors help provide partners with greater levels of choice.”

Such strong partnerships are on display via the vendor’s expanding Security Innovation Alliance (SIA), which includes Anomali, Aruba Networks, BeyondTrust, Check Point Software Technologies and Cisco, as well as Cloudera, CyberArk, Extreme Networks, Forcepoint and Fortinet. This is in addition to IBM Security, Mimecast, Nutanix, SAS, ServiceNow and Splunk among others.

“Most customers don’t simply rip out what they have given how much time, energy and investment they put into making security decisions,” Baker explained. “That approach doesn’t work and our focus is on helping partners introduce customers to whichever XDR starting point is most appropriate and then gradually build up into the platform.

“The reality is that customers have made investments for good reason but through our platform, we are still integrating those vendors.”

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, Baker cited the importance of services as the vendor seeks to capitalise on a combination of accelerated customer demand, coupled with increased partner appetite.

“We want our partners to build and profit from the services offered around our XDR platform,” Baker added. “At the very least, we believe a 3-5x multiplier is associated with services, whether that’s consultancy, deployment or managed services.

“We want partners to create their own services and develop unique IP and make money from our platform, which is a very different approach compared to other vendors in the market who offer their own services.”

In giving partners the “services dollars”, Baker said the ecosystem can then move forward to maximise the vendor’s heritage following years of combined FireEye and McAfee experience.

“That’s our fourth differentiation,” he noted. “We have the knowledge in people’s heads, in our installed base and across both sides of our organisation. We’re new brand with a very strong heritage which means partners have an enormous opportunity to cross-sell and up-sell within that core base of customers.”

Building a value channel

To accelerate market momentum in 2023 and beyond, Trellix recently rolled out its Xtend Global Channel Partner Program to increase “profitability, engagement, and growth” for partners playing within the XDR space.

At the crux of the program is a commitment to help the channel “develop and deliver” value-added services on top of the vendor’s XDR platform.

Notably, Xtend partners can cross-sell and up-sell Trellix solutions which includes endpoint, security operations (SecOps) and network detection and response (NDR), alongside data loss prevention (DLP), email security and managed detection and response (MDR) services.

“We’re moving Trellix to a value partner program,” Baker said. “That’s the big step because the ecosystem of partners that we are building is based on value -- whether that be around services or hunting for new business.”

A primary way to achieve value, according to Baker, is to move away from a “pyramid type structure” in which the channel is only rewarded by volume, as opposed to the differentiated levels of value provided at an end-user level.

“We will treat partners by type -- Growth, Momentum, Collaborate and Distribution,” Baker explained. “Growth partners want to grow their base and come with us on our journey, which is where the bulk of our channel currently sits. They are managed by distribution which represents a great opportunity to continue developing our long-tail.”

Baker said Momentum is aligned to partners that are “fantastic at selling”, acknowledging strong in-market relationships and expertise in building revenue on a consistent basis.

“Momentum partners are not necessarily interested in selling services and they might take those services from elsewhere, such as a distributor,” Baker said.

Meanwhile, Collaborate partners represent value-added resellers or system integrators seeking to go “very deep” within the vendor’s XDR platform and build capabilities linked to consulting and managed services, plus unique IP.

“We won’t have many Collaborate partners across the world, this will be a limited number but we do want to form a community of real services experts around the platform,” Baker noted.

“Distribution also plays a critical role in recruiting and developing Growth partners, but also offering integration services and in some cases, representing us in large parts of the market. We are carefully and professionally assessing our distribution landscape and having open conversations to better understand where everyone wants to play.”

In tying the ecosystem together, Baker said plans are underway to help partners evolve through the different persona types -- chiefly expanding from Growth into more services focused strategies available via the Collaborate stream.

“The key point here is that we recognise that all partners are different,” he stressed. “Partners won’t change because a vendor tells them to so we recognise that and understand how to ensure they all have a role to play within our ecosystem.”

As part of Xtend, Trellix has also ramped up investment in partner development programs to improve the user experience, educate sellers on the XDR platform and provide more sales opportunities.

This takes shape in the form of an enhanced Partner Portal housing an upgraded repository of guides and sales playbooks, supported by deal registration and incentive management offerings.

Also, Trellix University acts as a learning management platform dedicated to increasing expertise and knowledge transfer to partner sellers.

“This program will also help recruit new partners into our ecosystem,” Baker explained. “Born-in-the-cloud partners now realise they can’t offer solutions to customers without having a discussion on security, which is crucial to cloud migration projects.

“We also see big hitting resellers in the market that require a stronger security posture and a new breed of specialised partners that possess niche capabilities in specific technologies.”

Central to meeting enablement and recruitment efforts across the region will be Sam Henderson, recruited as Managing Director of Channels and Alliances across APJ at Trellix in August 2022.

“We acknowledge that two ecosystems are coming together which offers different but complementary partners on both sides,” Henderson said. “We’re constantly receiving feedback and questions about how a FireEye or McAfee partner can now become a Trellix partner, largely because of the huge cross-sell opportunity available.”

Based in Singapore, Henderson is tasked with rolling out the new partner program at a regional level, in addition to driving market growth via the channel.

“A new and exciting challenge lies ahead for me with Trellix,” Henderson added. “The company’s commitment to empowering enterprises, commercial businesses and governments to adopt living security is commendable."

Henderson brings more than a decade worth of IT services and software development experience to the role, following channel-centric positions at SAP, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft among others.

“I’m proud to join Trellix and support its customers to address cyber security protection, which is one of the biggest challenges organisations are facing today,” he stated. “The excitement is building among partners and pockets of opportunity exist across all markets in the region.”

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