CRN Exclusive: New Carbon Black Americas Sales Leader To Drive Predictive Security Cloud, VMware Partnership


New Carbon Black Vice President of Americas Field Sales Kane Lightowler said he wants to familiarize the channel with the company's predictive security cloud and recent VMware partnership.

The Waltham, Mass.-based endpoint security vendor gave Lightowler control over the Americas field sales, sales engineering and federal teams at the start of the year following a two and a half year run as managing director of Carbon Black's Asia Pacific & Japan (APJ) business.

"APJ is all about the channel. That's what I've lived and breathed for 20 years in my career," Lightowler told CRN exclusively. "I deeply understand how they structure their business and what's important to them."

[Related: CRN Exclusive: Carbon Black Hires Microsoft Vet As Channel Chief]

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In his first two months on the job, Lightowler said he's been focused on driving attention to Carbon Black's predictive security cloud and the company's partnership with VMware.

VMware, in August, agreed to use Carbon Black's Collective Defense Cloud in its new AppDefense offering. Carbon Black plans to work closely with VMware to develop technology that integrates deeply into the company's stack and software-defined data center to better protect virtualized systems from traffic, Lightowler said.

"We're at a unique timeframe in the industry," Lightowler said. "The traditional technology is broken. It's not protecting against today's threats."

Carbon Black and VMware are currently doing a 15-city roadshow across the United States to educate clients about challenges in the industry as well as the company's joint technology, Lightowler said. Carbon Black and VMware plan to take the roadshow global next quarter, according to Lightowler, as well as bring it to more cities across North America.

The full-day event includes sessions for channel partners of both companies, Lightowler said, as well as content for both current and prospective customers. Carbon Black's commitment to its MSSP program is unique, Lightowler said, offering these partners the chance to accelerate their business with a cloud-based offering.

Lightowler's promotion is the third major change Carbon Black has made to its sales organization in the past year. Lightowler will report into Thomas Hansen, who came over from Dropbox in July as serves as Chief Revenue Officer, and will work alongside global channel chief Victor Gureghian Baez, who joined the company in November after nearly six years at Microsoft.

The sales team under Lightowler is responsible for prospecting, direct business development and figuring out what type of channel partner would be right for a new account. Although Carbon Black services some legacy contracts directly, Lightowler said 100 percent of the company's net new business goes through the channel.

Partners benefit from the deep expertise of Carbon Black's field salespeople around the company's product profile as well as their ability to bring an array of leads to the channel, Lightowler said. Solution providers, meanwhile, can bring a strong understanding of the end user's overall security posture to the table, according to Lightowler.

Lightowler said his biggest goals in the new role are growth, customer retention and customer satisfaction. As far as growth is concerned, Lightowler said he's monitoring both customer acquisition and partner engagement around both the volume of joint clients as well as adding new end users.

The depth of channel relationships will also be a key area of focus under Lightowler, with Carbon Black focused on doing more business with existing channel partners as well as becoming more meaningful and profitable for them.

Dimension Data (No. 10 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500) has actively used Carbon Black for incident response in its security operations center for a number of years, and has always been impressed with the company's technology and approach to the market, said Warren Small, vice president of transformation and innovation for group security at the Johannesburg, South Africa-based company.

Small knows Lightowler dating back to his time at Imperva from 2009 to 2015, and said he always pushed for true collaboration rather than a mere supplier relationship. Specifically, he said Lightowler has been supportive of Dimension Data's push to move workloads to the cloud and has partnered with the solution provider to ensure that data center and enterprise requirements continue to be satisfied.

Lightowler should continue to ensure that Carbon Black focuses on channel partners that are investing in consulting and client enablement and building out MSSP capabilities, Small said. Carbon Black should focus on solution providers that go beyond reselling technology and truly solve the problems clients are facing, Small said.

"We are extremely excited at the investment Carbon Black is making," Small said. "We're glad they recognize the need for experienced talent in the industry who understands how to support the business rather than simply accelerate growth."