CRN Exclusive: Kaspersky Lab Names Stein As North American Channel Chief

Kaspersky Lab has named Jason Stein as its new head of North American channels, as the company looks to refresh the way it works with partners in a competitive market for endpoint security.

Stein now serves as vice president of channel at Kaspersky Lab North America. He started with the company in July.

Stein replaces former North American channel chief Leslie Bois, who left the company in December to take a channel chief role at Veracode (acquired by CA Technologies). The Kaspersky channel has been led by Senior Vice President for B2B Sales Michael Canavan in the interim.

[Related: Kaspersky CEO Reassures Partners, Denies Ties To Russian Government In Letter To Channel]

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Stein comes to Kaspersky with a long background in the channel, though most of that experience is from outside of the security market. He most recently joins Kaspersky from Tier 4 Advisors, where he was vice president of channel. He has also held channel leadership roles at Effortless Office and PSI Network.

In an interview with CRN, Stein said he believes his more than 19 years of technical sales experience and relationships will bring a "unique vision" to the company, including new ways to get revenue, a focus on technical product expertise, and driving new messaging to the company's sales and channel teams.

"I have spent the past six years focused on cloud and security within the channel and see security as an exciting industry to be a part of right now as it is the number one solution organizations need. Businesses do not have enough protection and resources allocated to properly secure their organizations from the ever-changing barrage of cyber threats," Stein said. He said he chose Kaspersky because of its strong reputation and products.

Partners cheered the move to bring in a fresh perspective to the Kaspersky channel team. Michael Knight, president and CTO at Greenville, S.C.-based Encore Technology Group, said Stein's long background with channels, even outside of security, will help Kaspersky "reboot" how it works with partners after a series of changes in recent years around the program, leadership, and channel account manager structure.

"Kaspersky has been through a couple iterations of channel people who are driving and running the program," Knight said. "I think that they now looking for a fresh start with the channel. I think that's why [Stein] is a good fit for them."

Knight said he would like to see Kaspersky revamp its brand recognition in the market, as well as reengage with "stalwart partners" versus taking a broad partner approach. He said that is especially important after the brand hit the company has taken with allegations of Russian involvement, despite the company's strong technology.

"I think that's part of the reason they're trying to reinvigorate the channel side of it," Knight said. "Let's send out messages that makes sense and quell a lot of the political conundrums that are going on. I think that will be a big part of that: getting your ground force or your channel troops back reengaged and pushing that message out."

Stein said he believes Kaspersky has a good balance between sales and channel with its channel representatives. He said his plans for the Kaspersky channel program include making sure partners can find the right people in the right positions to "maximize the strengths of our team while focusing on technical education."

He said another focus will be to provide training and support to partners to make sure they are up to speed with the full portfolio of Kaspersky solutions. He said Kaspersky will continue to invest in its 2017 channel partner program and its MSP program.

" Our goal is to provide the best products and services while reinforcing our company’s commitment to the privacy and integrity of our clients’ sensitive data. We look forward to a refocused commitment to our partners and are appreciative of their unwavering support from the partner community," Stein said.