Carbon Black takes aim at Sophos, Kaspersky and Symantec partners

Carbon Black’s recently appointed EMEA channel chief Miles Rippon claims that he aims to grow the firm’s regional channel presence by recruiting partners tied to “traditional AV” vendors like Sophos, Kaspersky, and Symantec.

Rippon said that, although Carbon Black’s products are generally more expensive than those offered by the industry’s incumbents, partners are able to earn higher margins. He could not disclose how much margin Carbon Black partners can make, but said that those offered by AV rivals are “vastly lower”.

“We have an opportunity to recruit partners who sell and fulfil customer demand for AV and [who are] very much licence-selling and paperwork companies. I think that we have got an opportunity with those partners to take something that is clearly better. It is more expensive, and we are not going to hide from that, we are more expensive than traditional AV but we and our distributors are going to be offering better margins than they make on their traditional AV,” he said.

“You have the traditional AV market as in enterprise vendors like Symantec, Sophos, Kaspersky; it is a saturated market. I do not have the exact margins AV vendors offer but I know they are going to be vastly lower [and] the products are all very similar to each other.”

Rippon joined Carbon Black last month after a stint of almost four years as EMEA director of channels and alliances for HPE’s enterprise security software solutions.

He could not put a number on how many partners he is looking to recruit across EMEA, but named the UK, Benelux, the Nordics, DACH, and the UAE as key markets. He said that the firm’s recent distribution signing with Arrow – as well as partnerships with Exclusive Networks, Infinigate for the Nordics and Westcon for the Middle East – will play an important role in growing its indirect business.

“We have a fairly even spread between Benelux, the Nordics and the Middle East. Those are the three areas we have dedicated people. In each we have managers and sales reps and channel-focused people to help drive partner skills and awareness. We have also hired a sales director for the DACH region, and pre-sales and channel-focused roles,” said Rippon.

“We have got about 20 partners that… I would call certified partners, then a number of registered partners we transact with. We have a small partner community and that is nothing to be ashamed about. We are on the cusp of great things and we are addressing a $5bn traditional AV market and our message is [that] there are great opportunities for partners to get a different approach and sell something that adds value to the customer need in replacing their traditional AV by giving them something above and beyond.”

Around 90 per cent of Carbon Black’s bookings go through the channel, with roughly 30 per cent of its overall sales being generated outside of the US.

Rippon admitted that there is some overlap in the operations of Exclusive Networks and Arrow, but claimed that there are no plans to review its contract with Exclusive in light of signing Arrow this year.

“We have got a relationship with Exclusive; as far as I am concerned, we will continue the relationship. It is important for partners to have a choice of who they speak to and who they work with. There is some overlap in both of their operations, but there is an opportunity for both of them to add value. Their vendor portfolios are different, Arrow holds HP for instance, whereas Exclusive holds LogRhythm. We have currently got no plans at all to review our distribution setup,” he said.


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