Barracuda Networks Names Former Arcserve Exec As New Head Of Global Channels

On the heels of revamping its partner program, Barracuda Networks said Wednesday that it has created a new dedicated global channel chief role to execute on bringing the program to partners and aggressively grow its network of partners around the world.

Filling that new position of senior sales vice president, global channels, is Chris Ross, who joined the Campbell, Calif.-based company on April 1. He reports to Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales Michael Hughes.

Ross joins Barracuda most recently from Arcserve, where he was vice president of worldwide sales. Prior to that, Ross held channel-focused executive roles at Bakbone Software, Symantec and PowerQuest.

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The new role is designed to drive increased investment in the company's growing channel program and partner network, Ross said in an interview with CRN.

"It's just really another sign of further investment in the channel," Ross said.

"We've got all the right ingredients and we're delivering the majority of it already -- the focus is on turning the wheels faster," he continued. "I hope my 20-plus years of working with the channel around the world will enable us to do everything and execute well on that opportunity."

Ross' appointment is in conjunction with Barracuda's April launch of a revamped partner program, which added a new level to the previously three-tiered setup, as well as a new MSP-focused program.

In an interview with CRN, Ross said his immediate "No. 1 focus" is to make sure the program is fully deployed globally, and that partners are educated on how they can take advantage of all of the services and training opportunities available.

"Our key focus is, how do we continue to grow our channels? The whole program is being designed around growing, and scaling as we grow ... We expect to keep adding things to the program over time," Ross said.

From there, Ross said his long-term plans are to drive international growth, as well as "aggressive" recruitment of skilled partners from competitive vendors as Barracuda moves upstream to enterprise markets.

"As we continue to move upmarket, bringing more and more skilled VARs into our program is definitely one of our focuses," Ross said. "There's a big market out here, and we think our solution is compelling. We just need to get the message to more partners." Ross would not say how many partners Barracuda is looking to add or from which vendors it is taking them.

John Kelley, president of Royal Oak, Mich.-based Sequris Group, said he has seen Barracuda make "big strides" with growing its channel business, especially in the last year.

"They have moved up the ranks," Kelley said. "We're doing a lot more business with them because of their advancements in technology."

Kelley said, in Ross' new role, he would like to see him increasing communication with partners from top levels of management, particularly around the overall road map to the enterprise market, as well as the new partner program, including how Premier partners can certify, get up to speed with the new program and technology, and drive sales.