Palo Alto Networks Adds Former K2, ForeScout Channel Chief Evans To Lead Cloud Partner Sales

Palo Alto Networks has added yet another executive to expand its channel team with the addition this month of Tom Evans to lead its North American public cloud partner sales, CRN has learned.

Evans will now serve as director of North America public cloud partners, according to his LinkedIn profile. He started with the company this month.

Evans brings a long background of security and channel sales to the Santa Clara, Calif.-based security vendor, most recently serving as vice president of global channels and business development for business process application company K2. Prior to that, he held channel chief positions at ForeScout Technologies and F5 Networks.

[Related: Palo Alto Networks Launches New Venture Fund, Looks To Build Security Platform Ecosystem]

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In a statement to CRN, Palo Alto Networks confirmed Evans' appointment, saying he will be leading the company's new public cloud team as part of the overall North America channel organization.

"As customers move workloads and applications to public cloud environments, enterprise class security becomes vital – from application development, to cloud architecture design – in order to ensure a secure cloud experience. At the helm of this new endeavor, Tom will evolve our NextWave channel program by accelerating our momentum within the cloud security space and driving deeper security focus and engagement with cloud-centric solution providers and with our ecosystem of next-generation security innovator partners," Ron Myers, senior vice president, worldwide channels, said in a statement to CRN.

CRN also reached out to Evans directly about the move, but he did not provide any additional comment.

The executive appointment is the latest addition by Palo Alto Networks around its channel team. Most notably, the company hired long-time channel veteran Karl Soderlund to lead its Americas channel organization as vice president, Americas channels. He replaced Todd Palmer in May, who left the company to join hyper-converged startup Cohesity.

In an interview with CRN earlier this year, Soderlund and Myers both said the cloud is a key focus area for the security vendor with its partners. As Palo Alto Networks looks to invest more in the partners investing back in it, Myers said one factor in consideration would be the partner's cloud strategy and relationship with public cloud vendors. Myers said the cloud is a key piece of what the company calls a "next-generation security innovator" partner.

Rick Grimaldi, chief strategy officer at Brookline, Mass.-based K logix, said he is "definitely" seeing more demand around cloud security from customers, both around infrastructure and software-as-a-service application security. He said K logix is evaluating many CASB solutions, including the one offered by Palo Alto Networks, and how those solutions can help customers when it comes to cloud security.

"I definitely think it’s a big need and it's on the minds of a lot of people that we talk to," Grimaldi said.

Grimaldi said he hopes Evans' hiring will help Palo Alto Networks further expand into cloud security technologies with its partners.

"Hopefully [Evans] helps them grow in a positive direction," Grimaldi said. "I really do believe in their vision and the technology."