Q&A: Nancy Reynolds On Taking The Reins At Kaspersky Lab

You just left Dell to return to the security space. Why Kaspersky?

Security is very relevant. Even in a down economy, security is very relevant. The pie is always growing. The chance to lead a sales organization that is 100 percent channel, well, I was running to the opportunity. I worked out nicely.

Why did you leave Dell? You were there six months. Did it have anything to do with the fact that Dell is not 100 percent channel?

Absolutely not, it was really 100 percent about the opportunity. I learned quite a bit at Dell, the chance to lead a team and build it and grow faster than the market is very appealing. It's all about the opportunity.

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Are you here to stay? What are you going to say to partners who might say that you're just going to be gone in six months?

I think I have a pretty rock solid track record. 13 years at Novell. Five years at Trend Micro. I left Trend to follow an opportunity that was outside of my control, therefore I had to take care of myself. Some of your career is determined by others, the time and place.

How long do you want to be at Kaspersky?

I want to be here at least another five years. I want to hit that billion dollar mark. It's my personal goal.

The opportunity is to take the company, industry and a space that continues to grow and have the opportunity make its mark. (Partners) look at where I've been and how long I've stayed, they'll know that I'm here to make a difference and am committed.

What are some of the first things on your agenda as vice president of corporate sales?

The first thing is that we want to continue the momentum. Kaspersky has strengthened their momentum. We want to grow faster than the market and build a robust ecosystem. They (Kaspersky) have built a very solid foundation. We want to add to it where we have successes, and take a look across the partner ecosystem, see where we have gaps, and fill in those gaps.

That implies that there are some gaps. What are some of those holes that you see in the channel program?

I've been here two days. I don't see any holes, but I'm sure they're out there. We have a strong foothold in consumer and SMB markets, and we're moving into the corporate space.

Kaspersky executives announced back in December of 2008 that they were planning to target the enterprise space. Is that still a priority?

We're not looking to go after the Fortune 100. The midmarket is still the chewy nugget.

Another thing that VARs have said is that Kaspersky is very strong in R&D and product innovation, but lacks strategic marketing and branding. How are you going to address that as the new VP of corporate sales?

It is our number one priority. The 'how' will be determined over the next two to three months. We'll discuss it at our partner conference using that forum as a springboard for our strategy and details of how we're going to do that.

Are you planning on recruiting more channel partners, and if so, what kind of VARs?

Yes. Guys that have a security practice, have high sales, built their business around security, networking practice or a storage practice, and are generally multiregional. Not so much national, but there are some good players out there that are national.

One of the places that partners have said is lacking in Kaspersky is services. How is Kaspersky going to address the demand for more hosted and cloud services?

There are certainly partners that are waiting for that and ready.

Is it a priority?

If it's not, it will be soon, because it's very important to our partners. It's market driven, and we will have to be there.

Who do you think of as your biggest competitors? Who are you going to go after?

I'm sure everyone has their eye on us. We're going to do our best to focus on what we do. We're all in competition, and your path is determined by what path your competitors take. We're going to keep our eyes on the ground and do what we do best.

How are you planning to deal with channel conflict?

Certainly you want to hire the best people. Partners will tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly. You remove barriers, and make it easy to do business. And more importantly arm them with the right tools. Every partner has a different business.

One partner said that Kaspersky over the last two years is going more through distribution channels and cutting partners out of direct channel deals or ignoring traditional VARs. So they haven't had any direct contact with Kasperky channel in the last two years. What is your response to that and how are you going to address this kind of channel unrest?

I would say one guy doesn't constitute unrest. We want to assure that we communicate to everyone all the time, all day long -- everything from a social communication path and also through traditional methods. They always need to know where we're going and how we're getting there.

The two tier distribution model is fairly common in the industry. Distribution has huge financial arms and benefits. Our goal is to stay on top of it and stay ahead of it.

Is part of your strategy to reconnect with Kaspersky partners?

We're very connected today. It's not about reconnecting. It's about improving the connection and maximizing their profit, and maximizing the tools we offer to that them today and what we provide is what we ask for.

What are some of your other priorities and goals for the company?

Defining the partner program for Kaspersky for the Americas. Outlining benefits and requirements and tools for our partners. Whether you're small or large you can join The Green Team. From that point we take care of you. With marketing programs, you'll see and additional enhancements we'll be announcing at the partner conference.

We're always optimizing, from my reputation and from what I like to do, it's very clear-- if you're leading with Kaspersky, you're taking care of us, we'll take care of you. We want to make sure we don't miss a beat but we certainly want to lead in innovation.

I think after two days, I have my list of actions to do. I'm very honored to be here. I'm really looking forward to meeting with the partners and building up to double digit growth.