NeoScale's New Channel Chief To Sharpen Partner Focus

James Hanley, appointed senior vice president of worldwide field operations at Milpitas, Calif.-based NeoScale last month, had served as senior vice president of partner sales at CA until his departure in July following a management reshuffle.

Hanley said his move to NeoScale, which develops appliances that encrypt data as it's moved to tape or disk, came at a time when businesses were extremely interested in ways to secure data against access by unauthorized people.

"This business has always had a strong value proposition, but now companies are being forced to look more at that proposition," Hanley said. "Look at the recent issuance of PCI [Payment Card Industry] standards for credit cards, which may not mention encryption but say that customer data at rest has to be protected in a format that's not readable. That's as close to encryption as anyone can get."

The security of information in the data center and information being moved -- via tape or other storage devices or on portable PCs -- has become a key issue, thanks to several recent instances of theft of personal data from financial and government agencies.

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It's certainly an emerging industry, despite the presence of NeoScale and Network Appliance, Hanley said. NetApp entered the space last year with its acquisition of Decru.

"I believe this market is still early on," Hanley said. "A year ago, we were having to evangelize for every sale. Now customers realize the risks far outweigh the value of the sale. We are working with partners to implement the solution. This market is exploding and will only broaden."

NeoScale is growing at five to eight times its pace of a year ago, and the vendor is in talks with nearly 30 companies about using NeoScale APIs for its KeyVault security key management technology, Hanley said.

At NeoScale, Hanley said he joined a company that already has a solid channel program, including deal registration and other partner incentives. Most of NeoScale's business is through the channel, including solution providers that buy the appliances through EMC, Hewlett-Packard and a division of Sun Microsystems, he said.

Going forward, NeoScale plans to expand its resources devoted to the channel, especially in terms of increasing demand generation for partners via telesales and telemarketing and boosting field technical resources, according to Hanley.

NeoScale also is developing solutions to make its appliance part of a managed data security service for solution providers. "A lot of partners have approached this as a managed service from both the storage and the security sides," Hanley said. "If you do backup, this is easy to drop into the front end to manage encrypted backups. On the security side, service providers can manage the encryption of data at rest."

The company, too, is developing guidelines for server-based solutions for securing data, and the guidelines are expected to be ready within the next month, Hanley said.

NeoScale is looking to recruit new channel partners with deep services skills in storage, security or both. "We want to work with partners who have the ability to wrap a solution around operational changes," Hanley said. "They can implement the solution with their customers' existing backup and security software environments."