SADA CEO: Google-Mandiant To Best AWS, Microsoft In Security
‘This Mandiant acquisition is the largest acquisition [Google Cloud CEO] Thomas Kurian’s ever made. It’s a stake in the ground about the most important part of this cloud journey for most organizations, which is security first,’ says SADA CEO Tony Safoian in an interview with CRN.
SADA CEO Tony Safoian
Google Cloud is significantly expanding its cloud security leadership with its blockbuster $5.4 billion acquisition of security star Mandiant, a move that should make its cloud rivals Amazon Web Services and Microsoft take notice, says SADA president and CEO Tony Safoian.
“This Mandiant acquisition is the largest acquisition [Google Cloud CEO] Thomas Kurian’s ever made. It’s a stake in the ground about the most important part of this cloud journey for most organizations, which is security first,” said Safoian in an interview with CRN. “We feel security is an area where Google can absolutely stand out and does stand out versus the other cloud hyperscalers.”
The Los Angeles-based company is one of Google Cloud’s fastest growing and top channel partners, winning the Google Cloud Sales Partner of the Year award for North America in 2021.
“The reality of cyber threats is it’s really about the intelligence around the threat patterns, right? If Google, Google Cloud and Mandiant can now intelligently predict what customers have to prepare to defend against by seeing patterns in other places of the network—that’s incredibly valuable,” said Safoian.
SADA’s Google Cloud Momentum
SADA is a top Google Cloud channel partner witnessing high double-digits revenue growth year after year with innovative cloud services leading the way.
In the first half of 2022 alone, Safoian’s company won a whopping 270 net new customers.
SADA, which ranks No. 102 on CRN’s 2022 Solution Provider 500 list, also recently hired VMware’s former worldwide channel leader Sandy Hogan as its new chief revenue officer.
As Google Cloud sales continue to soar at SADA, the company is hosting its first-ever customer summit in Los Angeles this week, SADA Impact, with many of Google Cloud’s top channel executives and leaders in attendance.
Google Completes Mandiant Acquisition
On Monday, Google completed the largest security acquisition in its history by spending $5.4 billion to buy Mandiant.
Founded in 2004, Mandiant is known for providing frontline expertise and high-level threat intelligence as a proven first responder to some the world’s largest cybersecurity incidents. The two companies will combine technologies to provide new offerings to its large joint customer base—such as injecting Mandiant Attack Surface capabilities into Google’s “shared fate” security model, as well as building a new end-to-end security operations suite with capabilities to support customers across cloud and on-premises IT environments.
In an interview with CRN, Safoian talks about Google Cloud’s security market differentiator versus AWS and Microsoft, SADA sales and cloud services momentum, SADA Impact, as well as the results of a recent survey conducted on Google Workspace versus Microsoft 365.
Should AWS and Microsoft be nervous from a competitive standpoint about the newly combined Google Cloud-Mandiant company?
Google’s definitely made a statement here.
They’ve always been a leader in security by virtue of Google Cloud being born out of Google. The potential risk of anything that Google owns being penetrated has been so high, that they’ve always employed the top security people, practices, and systems.
Part of cloud is building those broader capabilities to every enterprise—public sector and private sector alike—that they can benefit from these capabilities, even though they might not be able to hire the same folks that Google can hire to work on some of the biggest problems.
The reality of cyber threats is it’s really about the intelligence around the threat patterns, right?
If Google, Google Cloud and Mandiant can now intelligently predict what customers have to prepare to defend against by seeing patterns and other places of the network—that’s incredibly valuable.
Google has a history of investing in the space. We ourselves have a significant practice around Google security, whether it’s BeyondCorp, reCAPTCHA, Chronicle, etc. and this would absolutely solidify our capabilities by bringing yet another set of security solutions to market.
We feel security is an area where Google can absolutely stand out and does stand out versus the other cloud hyperscalers.
How big of a security market impact will the new Google Cloud-Mandiant have?
If you think about larger Google, it has one of the biggest threat vectors in the world for every nation, state and bad actor to try to penetrate any part of the Google organization. You can argue that Google is the biggest target in the world.
So bringing that expertise married with now the Mandiant acquisition, and making it now as a service accessible to all of our joint customers—it’s going to be a very important part of someone’s digital transformation strategy.
As people deploy new infrastructures, as you can imagine, security is a must have. And Google just made a really bold move here by kind of putting a stake in the ground that they’re going to be the best in the world at this.
I think it’s the biggest ever acquisition for Google Cloud, certainly one of the biggest for Google.
We’ve always said that one of the superpowers of Google Cloud as an organization is, regardless of what the rest of your infrastructure looks like and the rest of your strategy looks like, security has always been in the forefront for Google Cloud as a differentiator.
SADA just had a third-party research firm conduct a survey on 750 college students regarding their preference for Microsoft 365 versus Google Workspace. The vast majority of respondents picked Google Workspace over Microsoft 365 for various technical preferences. What does that say?
Google has done a really good job of seeding the market early.
As those students graduate and enter the workforce as information workers and then move up in their careers into making some of these tough decisions, it bodes well for Google.
That’s why we see kind of Google Workspace market share inching up over time. Because new information workers, creative workers—this is what they’re born into. This is what they know. Our research proved that.
And we’re definitely seeing that impact in both private sector customers and even public sector organizations choosing Google Workspace as a as their platform of choice.
I know from my own experience, my kids are a little younger, but their entire life they’ve used Workspace. The collaboration within the Docs and Drive is very natural to them. They don’t know what an attachment is, and they don’t know what a save button is. It also happens to be an extremely secure platform.
Email itself is sort of where a lot of the security posture for our customers starts with and that’s why Workspace itself is such a popular choice, because that threat vector is greatly eliminated just by being on Google Workspace.
Where is SADA witnessing the most growth? What’s hot right now at SADA?
There is significant demand for more and more services—whether that’s professional services or flex managed services, for them to be able to absorb and consume.
We’ve realized that we’ve grown so tremendously fast, that a lot of our customers are really only in the beginning stages of their cloud transformation journey.
We also know that services, cloud, infrastructure, platform and app monetization can be complex. So we spent the last year to 18 months releasing 34 or so different [SADA] POWER offerings that are packaged, easy to consume, easy to buy, predictable, in various parts of security, app modernization, machine learning, artificial intelligence, collaboration—you name it.
We’ve launched those all across any part of the entry point that a customer is on for their cloud journey. We can come in and make a very immediate impact in a short amount of time and for a predictable dollar amount for any part of their cloud journey.
Data is a great example. We have several projects around data, modernization and data migration and so on.
So we are spending the time to make this easy for customers to consume, buy, and see value from—it continues to be a priority for us.
We’re seeing a significant uptick in our services capabilities across now thousands of customers and growing. We won 270 new customers in the first half of 2022 alone, which is significant, but we know that for every one of those, that first win is the beginning of their journey.
Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian
Give me your thoughts on why SADA is betting on Google Cloud and Thomas Kurian?
This Mandiant acquisition is the largest acquisition Thomas Kurian has ever made. It’s a stake in the ground about the most important part of this cloud journey for most organizations, which is security first.
The ongoing management required from threats in general, continuously are becoming more complex year after year. So Google continues to invest in the right areas.
Also Google continues to make major investments in channel, in programs, and services.
Google is leading with partner-led services in almost every account. Our services organization has grown tremendously as a result, including a hybrid delivery model, growing multi-nationally—we now have 100 people in India, that team will grow to 300 by the end of the year. So we’re going to be able to deliver globally at a scale which was previously only available to the global systems integrators in the past.
We’re going to do it now in a more specialized way with Google that makes a faster impact for our customers which we’re very proud of.
Your first customer summit, SADA Impact, is this week. Why should people tune in and attend?
We’re so incredibly proud of our first ever customer summit. We’re going to have hundreds and hundreds of people in person here in Los Angeles.
There’s a whole set of business and strategy tracks—every one of them featuring either somebody from Google or a customer. And we also have dozens of technical tracks for the engineers and the CTOs and the technical leadership that’s going to be both watching the show remotely and also being in person.
Every single one of those includes a customer, but also includes a real technical demo of the work that we’ve done together that’s made a huge customer impact on their financial performance, technical platform performance, etc. It’s about customers really sharing the impact stories.
Of course with the Google leadership being present, there’s going to be a lot of opportunity to make new connections and make new friends.
We love when our customers, prospects and Google and our teams network together. We’re really about bringing people together and an opportunity to create a larger community around the cloud journey. So we’re really excited. One thousand people registered, about 600 will be in person, and it’s going to be an incredible inaugural event of SADA Impact.