Crowdstrike Names Former AppDynamics VP Polly As Global Channel Chief

Crowdstrike has appointed former AppDynamics vice president Matthew Polly to lead its global channels, alliances, and business development, the endpoint detection and response vendor announced Monday.

Polly had previously served as vice president, worldwide alliances and business development, at AppDynamics. His move comes just five months after the cloud application and business monitoring provider closed its $3.7 billion acquisition by Cisco.

Polly will serve as vice president, worldwide business development, alliance, and channels at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Crowdstrike. In part, he replaces Upesh Patel, who had previously led business development but left in March to take a role at Aqua Security. Polly officially started at Crowdstrike June 15.

[RELATED: Q&A: Crowdstrike CEO On The Evolving Endpoint Security Market And The Need For Security Integration]

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Alton Kizziah, vice president of global managed services at Kudelski Security, a Crowdstrike partner, said he's excited to see Crowdstrike bring an executive on board with Polly's record of taking existing programs and "really pushing them to the next level." At AppDynamics, Polly helped grow the company's channel organization from the ground up.

"It is exciting to see someone who has been so successful coming on board … When you see what he has done in the past and taken revenue through the channel to new heights, it's pretty apparent he knows what he's doing with partners and he sees the benefit of the channel," Kizziah said.

Kizziah said Crowdstrike already had a strong approach to the channel, adding that he has "never worked with a vendor who spends as much time and money in the channel as Crowdstrike." He said Crowdstrike has quickly become one of the solution provider's top vendors over the past year, and hopes Polly will continue that approach, as well as bring in a fresh set of eyes to help Crowdstrike adapt to new market trends.

"They already set the standard [when it comes to partners], but it's really nice to see that they're also slowing down and investing in proven, established leadership. It's just another positive indicator that comes from Crowdstrike to us. This can only help every partner," Kizziah said. "We're very excited."

In an exclusive interview with CRN, Polly said he was drawn to join Crowdstrike because of the company's people, investors, technology, and opportunity in a vastly growing market for cybersecurity. In particular, he said the partner opportunity for Crowdstrike was a reason he chose to join the company rather than stay with Cisco, saying the endpoint detection and response (EDR) space has a "rising relevance" with a continued increase in attacks, and opens the door for many new types of partners, including solution providers, systems integrators, MSSPs, law firms, insurance companies and technology firms.

"It ticked all the boxes of a company that has what it takes to go the distance and be a large organization and deliver on the promise that they can stop breaches," Polly said.

Polly said his plans include enhancements to Crowdstrike's partner program, not a massive overhaul. His plans include a new partner portal, rolling out a partner advisory board, and investing in its engagement license for proper training and enablement of partners. He said Crowdstrike will also focus more on partners that invest back in the company, rolling out subcontracting agreements for consulting, memoranda of understanding for dedicated sales and services employees, and a new MDF fund.

Polly's appointment is the latest in a series of executive appointments at Crowdstrike in recent months. The security vendor named Michael Carpenter as president of global sales and field operations in December, Jerry Dixon as chief information security officer in October, and Rod Murchison as VP of product management, also in October. Crowdstrike also announced $100 million in Series D funding in May, bringing its total funding raised to $256 million.

The appointment also comes as the market for endpoint detection and response continues to heat up and become more competitive. Polly said that market opportunity is one of the reasons he decided to join Crowdstrike, saying its technology - including its cloud-based architecture and machine learning - sets it apart from its competition and legacy security providers.

"It’s a $17 billion total addressable market at least," Polly said. "There's a lot of legacy vendors in this market that are long in the tooth and haven't been investing [in] innovation to keep up with the threats that are out there. That's where Crowdstrike comes in."

Kudelski Security's Kizziah said Polly's appointment should help Crowdstrike further accelerate its push to the channel. He said that's especially important for a fast-growing company like Crowdstrike as it looks to stay on top of the market. He said having a fresh approach from a new executive like Polly should help Crowdstrike adapt to remain competitive in the market for the long term.

"When you are on top, you can't really slow down because there's always another vendor behind you trying to claw you down," Kizziah said. "I think having him here with a fresh set of eyes and a history of being successful in the channel….is just that advantage to keep Crowdstrike ahead of the other vendors that also have channel programs."