Orca Security Hires Zscaler, Dell Veteran As New Channel Chief

John Tavares tells CRN he plans to double down on channel partners as part of a growth push at the cloud security unicorn.

Cloud security unicorn Orca Security announced Tuesday it has named Dell Technologies veteran John Tavares as its new channel chief, with an aim toward doubling down on partners as part of a channel-focused growth push.

In an interview with CRN, Tavares said that in addition to bolstering opportunities for all partners, he will bring a particular focus on increasing the services delivery opportunities for the channel.

“My message would be, if you haven't talked to us, please reach out,” he said. “We are a partner-first company, and we'd love to engage in additional conversations with partners that are highly active in the cloud security space.”

Tavares, whose title is senior vice president of worldwide partner and alliances sales, joins Orca from cybersecurity vendor Zscaler, where he served as vice president of partners and alliances since late 2022. Before that, he held a similar role at Commvault.

Earlier in his career, Tavares spent more than two decades at EMC Corp. and then four more years at Dell Technologies following the tech giant’s acquisition of EMC. In his final role at Dell, Tavares spent nearly three years as vice president of sales.

Orca’s move to hire someone with Tavares’ level of experience is a strong sign of where the company is looking to go with the channel, said Lauren Ridzon, director of sales at Sycomp, an Orca Security partner based in Foster City, Calif.

“It’s really exciting to have someone like that on board,” Ridzon said. “I think it speaks to Orca wanting to mature their channel practice, as well.”

Sycomp, she noted, has been finding significant opportunities with Orca, particularly when it comes to helping customers move from simply getting better visibility into cloud security issues—and into fixing those problems.

“The action needs to happen for that value to be realized,” she said. That’s where Sycomp is increasingly finding an opportunity to assist customers after identifying issues using Orca’s technology, according to Ridzon.

Tavares said it’s these sorts of opportunities that he is aiming to substantially increase as he gets underway in the new role. Today, for instance, Orca does not yet have “a formal program that enables partners and drives partners along the services front,” he said. “Priority One is to build that [authorized services partner program] out.”

Boosting managed services opportunities will be another focus area, Tavares said.

Orca’s channel team will also be pursuing overall program enhancements to assist partners, including through ensuring consistency across the various types of partner engagements, he said.

Ultimately, “I think there’s a big opportunity for partners around Orca,” Tavares said. “We're looking to really extend the involvement of partners through our entire lifecycle. We're trying to make the engagement with us more than just a transaction.”

Founded in 2019, Orca was able to rapidly become a go-to vendor in the cloud security market with its “SideScanning” technology. The agentless offering collects data from workloads in cloud environments and analyzes the workloads for security risks without impacts to performance, according to the company.

The company has since expanded its platform into a full CNAPP (Cloud Native Application Protection Platform), the company has said.

Orca most recently received a valuation of $1.8 billion in 2021, in connection with its $550 million Series C funding round.