Kaspersky Lab Hires Sales Veteran To Bolster Enterprise Push

Kaspersky Lab, pushing sales of its enterprise-level platform in North America despite growing tension between Russia and the United States, has hired another sales executive to spearhead business-to-business sales activities here.

The company named Mike Parise as its senior vice president of corporate sales Monday. He reports to Chris Doggett, the managing director of Kaspersky's North American operations. Parise, a sales veteran, was most recently vice president of North American field sales at Boston-based Core Security, a vulnerability and network penetration platform. He also has held sales roles at Courion, Parametric Technology, EMC and Data General.

Parise, who starts today, told CRN that he took on the corporate sales role because it was clear that Kaspersky Lab's momentum into manufacturing, health care and other sectors was continuing despite the uncertain geopolitical climate.

[Related: Kaspersky Hires Juniper Executive To Lead Channel Sales]

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"This is a company that is trying to solve a problem that is universal, and it's clear that it so far hasn't affected the business," Parise said. "Without ignoring the geopolitical climate, I'm hoping that all of that is in the rearview mirror, and Kaspersky is moving forward with the best security suite that the company can make to achieve our goals of superior security."

Kaspersky Lab is still filling senior leadership roles following a management shakeup that included the departure of Stephen Orenberg, the company's president of North American sales operations, who spent a decade building the company's brand in the U.S. Other senior executives left, citing a strategy dispute, including Nikolay Grebennikov, Kaspersky Lab chief technology officer and head of R&D. Doggett, who managed channel operations, took over Orenberg's position. Kaspersky Lab partners remain optimistic despite the management shakeup, citing continued growth.

Parise said Kaspersky Lab continues to be committed to a 100 percent channel-driven sales model. The company unveiled a named-accounts strategy in recent years to boost sales at large enterprises and has an inside sales team that is attempting to capture larger deals. William Cunningham, the company's vice president of enterprise sales in North America, is leading an enterprise sales team and has made sales at upper midmarket manufacturers, financial firms, higher education and health-care organizations.

Parise said he has had numerous responsibilities supporting direct sales and channel sales operations at vendors, as well as direct marketing. A company reliant on the channel must support partners with marketing and sales support, he said.

"We'll be maximizing the partners that we have and continuing to recruit the types of partners that will bring us to the next level," Parise said. "For me, the challenge is to rev the engine and fuel it more for growth by identifying the right partners who you can really build a strategic plan with, and care about how their business is going to perform."

The channel is still involved in large business deals, said John Murdock, vice president of channel sales at Kaspersky Lab. The company is relying on regional partners with technical engineers that can carry out deployment and long-term professional services to larger customers, Murdock said.

"Partners are looking for a security partner to play with VMware, Citrix or Microsoft depending on what their core customer base looks like," Murdock said. "They are looking for strategic bets and not another vendor to their line card; they are trying to find the best horse for the races."

Enterprise sales are being driven by the company's virtualization security software, he said. Murdock added that the company would invest in areas to bolster training and reward partners that can carry out professional services.

Companies are increasingly looking for stronger security technologies to support their data center, virtualization and storage strategies, said Doug Close, vice president of security at Sayers Group, a Chicago-based solution provider. Close said the company has relationships with all the endpoint security vendors, but is currently evaluating point products designed to monitor and detect advanced threats on servers and endpoint systems.

"Businesses are struggling with the resources they have, in addition to identifying threats and reducing the risks that have the most impact," Close said in a recent interview. "You can't just throw an engineer in there and fix all these things."