Hewlett Packard Enterprise Steps Up Security Offensive, Appoints Channel Veteran To Head Unit

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has tapped channel veteran Sue Barsamian to lead its security software business in an effort to boost sales in the segment as it prepares to become an independent company.

Barsamian, a nine-year HP veteran who has been heading up indirect enterprise channel sales for the past two years, has been named senior vice president of enterprise security products for HP Software, reporting to HP Software Executive Vice President Robert Youngjohns.

Barsamian will have responsibility for the security business' go-to-market strategy as well as the delivery of all product and services.

[Related: 10 Things You Need To Know About HP's Aug. 1 Operational Split]

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"Security is an area of tremendous importance and focus for our company, and is at the heart of one of the four transformation areas for Hewlett Packard Enterprise," said Youngjohns and HP Enterprise Group Executive Vice President Antonio Neri in an internal memo dated Monday, which was viewed by CRN.

"Given the significance of this business, it is essential that we have the right leadership in place to fully capitalize on the market opportunities before us and deliver results," the executives said in the memo.

Barsamian was vice president of marketing at Mercury Interactive, the software testing company that HP acquired in 2006. She previously was vice president of marketing and business development at Verity Software, which HP obtained when it acquired Autonomy in 2011.

Solution providers say they expect Barsamian's leadership to drive more focus and investment in security as Hewlett Packard Enterprise becomes an independent $55.12 billion Fortune 50 business effective Nov. 1.

Partners credit Barsamian with driving an enterprise channel sales resurgence over the past two years, and they expect her to kick HP’s security business into high gear.

"This is phenomenal," Ken Lamneck, CEO of Insight, a $5.3 billion national solution provider behemoth and one of HP's top partners, said of Barsamian’s appointment. "We've had some pretty good success with HP's security products, but having someone like Sue who really gets it and understands our capabilities is going to take it to another level. Sue lives and breathes the channel. She is going to know how to leverage the channel to grow the business.’

The breakout appointment comes with security IT spending growing at a rapid clip, as customers attempt to stop an ever-increasing number of threats and breaches.

"Security is such a huge part of what every customer is working on right now," said Lamneck. "HP needed to really focus more on the security piece of the business, and I can't think of a better person than Sue to do it."

Lamneck said he expects Barsamian to help drive the various HP security products into a tightly integrated suite that will help spark further HP security software sales growth.

"I see Sue bringing all the security assets -- the security companies HP has acquired -- under one umbrella into an offering that is going to help us all accelerate the business," he said.

Peter Larocque, president of North America distribution for Synnex, the $13.8 billion global distributor and one of HP's top distribution partners, is similarly optimistic.

"The bottom line is Sue has done a lot of hard work for us and the channel," Larocque said. "It couldn't happen to a better person than Sue. She is very deserving of this. We are very excited. She gets what we do. She has worked very closely with us. She has got a big job with this new role. I am certain she is going to be very successful."

Larocque said he sees Barsamian's enterprise expertise as critical in driving security software sales growth.

"Sue has really strong knowledge of the data center and all the other enterprise business," he said. "That is going to be key for customers with a huge data center and networking infrastructure. She is going to help secure the data centers and gateways they have."

Security software solutions are becoming more critical for Synnex and its solution provider partners, said Larocque.

"HP Security is a primary focus for us," he said. "It's a core growth initiative. They have a strong, broad and deep security portfolio."

Some partners don’t think HP gets enough credit for its security software portfolio. HP has accumulated a diverse set of world-class security products including ArcSight security information and event management; TippingPoint intrusion prevention; Fortify application security; and Atalla next-generation cloud encryption.

Sean Kerins, president of the Global Enterprise Computing Solutions Group for Arrow Electronics, the $22.7 billion Centennial, Colo., global distributor and key HP Enterprise partner, said Arrow’s security software business has been growing at a double-digit rate and Barsamian's appointment should help drive even greater sales growth.

"HP moving a talent like Sue into a role like this is a signal that they get it, and that they’re looking to double down on the potential in the security market," he said. "Sue's background and channel expertise will only mean good things for HP's security business and for us. It gives HP's security business more focus and it says they are going to look to engage the channel further to drive that business."

Kerins credited Barsamian with getting the enterprise channel sales engine back on track.

"Sue led the HP channel during a time of some pretty significant transitions," he said. "She didn't walk into an easy role and she brought stability and consistency. She brought a renewed commitment to the HP channel. I saw it with us and our partners. If Sue continues many of the things HP has done in the last several years, I see only good things as we work together further."

In the memo, Youngjohns and Neri said Barsamian would continue to lead worldwide indirect sales for the enterprise group during the "transition" as the company searches for a replacement.

"The channel is absolutely critical to our business, and our commitment to the partner ecosystem at HP has never been stronger," said the two executives in the memo. "Sue will therefore act as head of both groups until a leader of indirect sales is announced."

One of Barsamian's strengths in her indirect sales leadership role has been garnering the support of all the various HP constituencies from solution providers to HP direct sales reps and channel reps to all of HP's top executives including HP CEO Meg Whitman.

In the memo, Youngjohns and Neri said they expect Barsamian to "leverage" that HP experience to "aggressively drive initiatives across multiple business units and stakeholders, accelerating the next phase of growth for HPE's [HP Enterprise's] security business. We can't wait to see what she will achieve."