Abnormal Security Hires Industry Vet Jonathan Corini As Channel Chief

Corini will bring his more than two decades experience to accelerating Abnormal’s efforts with partners, the email security vendor exclusively tells CRN.

Abnormal Security has hired longtime cybersecurity and channel industry executive Jonathan Corini as its new head of channel sales as the fast-growing company seeks to deepen its work with partners, the email security vendor said.

Corini, whose career has spanned more than two decades and included roles at numerous major cybersecurity vendors, has joined Abnormal as its vice president of worldwide channel sales, the company exclusively told CRN. The hire comes a few months after the vendor announced surpassing $100 million in annual recurring revenue as well as aspiriations to eventually go public.

[Related: Abnormal Security CTO On Expanding Beyond Email Protection, IPO Aspirations]

Prior to his most recent role heading the channel program at passwordless authentication startup HYPR, Corini served as senior vice president of global channels at email security powerhouse Mimecast until late 2022.

In an interview, Corini said he was inspired to join Abnormal in part by the massive opportunity he sees for transforming the critically important email security space.

“If you look at how Palo [Alto Networks] changed the industry of firewalls, and how CrowdStrike did that for endpoint — that's how I'm seeing Abnormal and email,” he told CRN.

Abnormal Security also announced a second executive hire Wednesday, with the appointment of Stephanie Goodman as head of global alliances. Goodman previously held roles at companies including Forescout and McAfee.

Founded in 2018 by veterans of companies including Twitter and Google — CEO Evan Reiser and CTO Sanjay Jeyakumar — Abnormal Security has become a major force in email security thanks to its platform powered by behavioral AI technologies.

With hackers continuing to leverage email in many attacks, including phishing and social engineering, the threats associated with the inbox remain front-and-center for most partners and customers.

Corini said he’s been highly impressed by the AI-driven technologies developed by Abnormal, and believes there’s a sizable untapped opportunity for partners to leverage these advances.

“The ability to ingest tens of thousands of signals, and understand what normal looks like from an identity and email perspective, is just a different approach,” he said. “That allows us to protect [against] next-generation attacks that other organizations just don't have the ability to do.”

Partner Perspective

An executive at an Abnormal Security reseller partner, who has also known Corini from his previous roles, told CRN that the hire is a “fantastic” move for the email security firm.

Currently at Abnormal, “the channel program is good — they’re a channel-first organization, and I’ve had a positive experience in working with the channel team there,” said Trevor Smith, executive vice president of Brite, a Victor, N.Y.-based solution and service provider and Abnormal Security partner for the past six months. “But Jonathan is one of the best in the industry. He has a phenomenal track record of building and launching successful programs.”

Prior to Mimecast, Corini’s channel leadership positions included roles at cybersecurity vendors Forescout, Tanium and Intel Security. Smith recalled how at those companies, Corini established a reputation for being “super direct and honest.”

“He can be trusted. When he says he’ll do something, it gets done,” Smith said. “That’s not always the case.”

Corini also stands out for his commitment to rewarding partners that make an investment into a vendor’s technologies, regardless of the size of the partner.

“It’s not just rewarding the biggest reseller with the biggest numbers, [but also] the ones that are able to deliver the technology, enhance the customer experience and support the customers the best,” Smith said.

In terms of the opportunity ahead with Abnormal, Smith said a major advantage is that the vendor’s email security technology works well with Microsoft 365, and is straightforward to deploy.

For Brite, many customers that invested in Microsoft 365 licenses over the past few years have initially been utilizing Microsoft’s own email security to see how it goes, Smith said. Now, “they’re starting to see that they need to add another layer on top of that,” he said.

Abnormal’s AI-based behavioral analytics — which can detect anomalous activity across both the company level and user level — provides a greater ability to detect sophisticated, zero-day attacks, according to Smith.

Microsoft does a fine job on standard, signature-based threat detection, but Abnormal provides vastly improved protection against more-sophisticated attacks, he said.

Meanwhile, Abnormal Security offers a gateway-less integration with Microsoft 365 email that significantly accelerates setup and configuration, “which is huge,” Smith said. “It’s not a big lift for customers.”

Ultimately, “it’s the ability to augment an investment in Microsoft, with a gateway-less approach and enhanced behavioral analytics to help protect customers,” he said. “Abnormal comes to the table with something very different.”

Focus Areas

Going forward, Corini said major areas of channel investment for Abnormal will likely include increased partner enablement, especially for pre-sales technical enablement. The company also expects to look at expanding its enablement of integration services with third-party products such as Microsoft and CrowdStrike, he said.

In addition to integration services, Abnormal will be looking at growth with partners in deployment services and migration services, Corini said. Without a doubt, “our partners are keen to understand how they can provide services based on Abnormal technology,” he said.

In terms of managed services, Corini said that’s an area he plans to assess and that will likely factor into the Abnormal program in the future.

Meanwhile, Abnormal is also expanding its channel team under Corini, with planned hires that would grow the team of channel account managers from seven to 12. And the vendor plans to hire its first dedicated channel engineer, as well, with plans to add more over time, he said.

For the partner program overall, international expansion is a major priority as well, with plans to target growth with the channel in regions including EMEA and APJ, according to Corini.

Overall, Abnormal currently generates a “very high percentage” of its revenue through the channel, he said.

The bottom line, Corini said, is that the future is bright for partners with Abnormal: “the market opportunity is for us to change the game of email security.”

“The ability to change an industry is really exciting to me,” he said.