Cylance’s Partner Program Priority: End-to-End Automation
Cylance is looking to further automate its partner management and engagement systems — allowing MSSPs to work with the security company and end-customers in a more profitable, frictionless manner, according to Senior VP of Marketing Shaun Walsh.
Cylance’s commitment to automation comes during a time of rapid growth for the company. Indeed, revenue has surged 283 percent over the past year, Cylance said in November 2017. The actual revenue figure for 2017 remains undisclosed, but we suspect it’s about $127 million, based on Inc. 5000 honoree figures culled from 2016 participant surveys.
Moreover, Cylance revenues are up 13,057 percent over the past three years, and there are signs an IPO could be in the making. Indeed, former AlienVault CFO Brian Robins arrived in August 2017, sparking talk that an IPO may arrive in 2018.
Artificial Intelligence Plus Partner Engagement Automation
Cylance built a name for itself with artificial intelligence technology. With that reputation in mind, Rahul Kashyap now shifts to the global CTO role — where he will drive AI and automation deeper into Cylance’s products and services.
On the partner front, Cylance’s automation efforts include key integrations with ConnectWise, Salesforce.com and other business management systems upon which MSPs and MSSPs build their businesses, Walsh notes. But he concedes: The automation efforts can’t end there. “At the core of everything we’re trying to do it’s about automating the process with the channel,” says Walsh.
That includes revamping everything from the company’s partner portal to its web properties. “Most websites you look around, search, and hopefully find what you need. But the world’s largest website [i.e., Google] is nothing more than a box for you to submit a question. Those realities make us think very hard about how we automate the discovery of new clients, new individuals, new business opportunities — and more.”
New Approaches to Automation
Among the challenges: The market for business management software is highly fragmented in the channel. Yes, ConnectWise has critical mass in the MSP-centric SMB sector. But when you move into the midmarket and enterprise, partners juggle everything from Salesforce to Microsoft to ServiceNow business management systems (and plenty more).
To help MSSPs work even more closely with their customers — in a more profitable manner — Cylance is looking to automate everything from lead generation to go-to-market to payments, MDFs (market development funds) and SPIFs (sales performance incentive fund) and the actual creation of products and services, he says. “[Vendors] who are automating the most are more than likely to get and keep the attention of partners,” Walsh asserts.
VARs, meanwhile, realize the only way they can outmaneuver other VARs is to automate and stay most in sync with world-class vendors, he adds. For those reasons, VARs are taking the time to understand how on-demand services like cybersecurity are managed and billed. “They want to know, ‘How is it to live with this platform?'” That means Cylance has to deliver a world-class customer experience for partners and customers alike.
Key Opportunities for 2018
Looking forward to 2018, it’s not about “go to market. Instead the strategic shift is all about go-to-customer — with complete automation for the partners from beginning to end.”
Fortunately, Cylance is built for proactive service providers that want to scale without hiring a bunch of Green Beret-type SecOps experts, Walsh asserts. Referring to the Zombie genre and shows like The Walking Dead, Walsh says Cylance allows MSSPs to look at malware threats and strains across the globe — and thereby predict ways to avoid becoming the next patient zero Zombie (i.e., malware victim).
As Cylance’s MSSPs scale, Walsh expects them to extend from the SMB sector into the midmarket and enterprise. “If you only think the MSSP opportunity is for small companies that’s a mistake,” he says. Large enterprises, much like every other business, are looking at ways to balance their IT costs and skill sets, and increasingly want to outsource security functions to MSSPs.
MSSP Alert tends to agree. Of the world’s Top 100 MSSPs for 2017, roughly half have enterprise-scale customer engagements. We’ll be watching to see how many of those MSSPs build relationships with Cylance, and what role automation plays in those engagements.