Lacework CRO: We’re The ‘True Platform’ For Cloud Security

In an interview with CRN, industry veteran Kevin Kiley discusses why Lacework differs from the cloud security competition and how it’s seeking to expand services opportunities for partners.

In the fast-growing but fiercely competitive market for cloud security, Lacework is aiming to double down on creating services opportunities for partners to accelerate its expansion, according to Chief Revenue Officer Kevin Kiley.

CRN recently spoke with Kiley — a veteran of companies including OneTrust and AirWatch/VMware, who joined Lacework as CRO in October — to discuss growth strategy, how the cloud security unicorn differs from competitors and the vendor’s intensifying channel push.

[Related: The 20 Coolest Cloud Security Companies Of The 2024 Cloud 100]

Ultimately, Lacework is in “growth mode,” he said. And pivotal to the expansion will be “helping our partners to build out services practices around our business. I hope that is something that we can really move quickly on here.”

Kiley also spoke about the likelihood that Mountain View, Calif.-based Lacework, which has been valued at $8.3 billion by its investors, will pursue becoming a public company in the future.

What follows is an edited and condensed portion of CRN’s interview with Kiley.

What led you to join Lacework?

I previously was chief revenue officer at OneTrust, which I joined in early 2017 and got to see really go from zero to just over $400 million in ARR when I left about five years later. Very rapid growth and rise, and I give tremendous credit to the work that we did with our partners and alliances through that time. Prior to OneTrust, I was at another startup, AirWatch — very similar trajectory. We took that company from about $1 million in revenue when I started to about $350 million when I left about six years later.

[With Lacework], what initially intrigued me is looking at the market. This is such an important market and it's only going to grow in its relevance. Whether you’re looking at Forrester, Gartner, IDC they all say about 10 to 15 percent of workloads have made their way to the cloud. So it is early, early days for what will be this much larger, secular trend that we're part of.

The need for what we do just continues to also grow. The problem is enormous. Just [recently], the Okta breach was tied back to compromised credentials. The very specific types of challenges that these organizations have, Lacework solves for.

Given your focus on the cloud and application security space, how does Lacework address identity security challenges such as the situation you just mentioned?

These are all important dimensions of what we propevide. What you're hitting on is really a central concern. You've got a lot of narrow silos that have been built out over the last few years, as organizations have tried to address these things with point solutions. Where we feel like we've got something powerful is that platform story — and moving from a collection of probably 10-plus different products that an organization might have, to being able to deliver a platform that really pulls all that together. And it’s not just for the sake of vendor consolidation, or rationalization of spending across different systems, or the security challenges of maintaining all those. But rather, I think the idea that we can take all of these disparate signals and put them together, gives us a really compelling potential for an organization. We can see things that others wouldn't be able to see, because of the integration that we can offer across all of these different areas. That's unique.

We have good competitors in each of those narrow spaces. But there's really only maybe one other name that can transcend all of that. And their strategy has been more about acquisitions. We think what's unique here [with Lacework] is the fact that we're building all these things together in a purpose-built way. That really gives us a lot of strength in how we support a customer.

What are some of your priorities for Lacework going forward?

There's a few areas that I really want to see us move faster on. We're already beginning to make some of those changes in the way that we're operating the business. I'll start with the way that we're supporting existing customers — trying to build out more of an ecosystem of partners that can build business practices around that. We've got several great MSPs in place today and a number of other resale channels that have been established. One of the big pushes over the next year will be to help build out more of a services practice across a lot of these partners. This is something I had a lot of experience with in my past organizations and will be a key part of what you see us emphasize. There's a lot of great relationships that are already there. I just don't think we've done enough to help them build out those services practices. And that is going to be a priority.

What are some of your key goals within this push with partners?

I'm really trying to prepare us for that next level of growth. Across my past organizations, we were able to scale and build at a pace that very few companies ever have. The economy is a little bit wobbly, and I think a lot of our customers and partners are also moving conservatively. So it's a great time for us to reorganize and recalibrate for this next phase of our growth. We are in growth mode. And we're taking important steps to restructure our teams, our practices, and ensure that we're built for that next phase of the journey as a company. That's a lot of what I hope to impact. It's all with that bigger view toward, what does this look like over the next 24 or 36 months? And how does this process work for our partner, when the volumes are 10X what they are today?

Are there other examples of what you’re looking to do, in terms of evolving your work with partners?

The [biggest] example is helping our partners to build out services practices around our business. I hope that is something that we can really move quickly on here. So you'll see us start to build out more training and enablement programs, and really develop [services] as a competency within a lot of our partners. My hope is that these become very lucrative businesses for them. We're also talking to our partners about how we do more market development together. So this will be an area that gets a tremendous amount of focus for me.

What’s your message to partners about why they should choose to work with Lacework?

I think what we can uniquely offer to our partners is this true platform capability, versus trying to manage a lot of point solutions that they're perhaps delivering for their clients today. Trying to put your faith in those legacy companies — that have acquired their way into some of these areas and are now trying to stitch those different products together — [doesn’t work]. [Neither does] going with the point solutions, and just trusting a basket of small startups to try to do this piece or that piece, and then having to switch across them. That may work in some organizations, but for a partner, that just doesn't scale. And I think that's something that really resonates, in some of the conversations that I've had with our partners today. They really want that unified platform that can give them end-to-end visibility across all of these areas.

Do you see Lacework as an IPO-caliber company down the road?

Without any hesitation, yes. This is a team that knows how to build a public company. They know what that means — the rigor and the demands of what it means to take a company public — but also [know how] to operate that way. So yes, without any hesitation, this is something that we certainly have an eye toward.