5 Big Takeaways From CrowdStrike’s 2023 Partner Summit

Top CrowdStrike executives addressed more than 700 partners during the company’s Fal.Con 2023 conference.

CrowdStrike VP Michael Rogers

CrowdStrike VP Michael Rogers

CrowdStrike’s Message To Partners

As cybersecurity giant CrowdStrike kicked off its Fal.Con 2023 conference, the company’s top executives got out in front of its partner base from the get-go with one overriding message: There’s more to do with CrowdStrike. While the company’s flagship endpoint detection and response (EDR) technology is the market-share leader, according to IDC figures, the company still has less than 20 percent of the market and is vying with a substantial number of legacy players that are still widely deployed, executives said during CrowdStrike’s Partner Summit at Fal.Con 2023 Monday. Meanwhile, a number of CrowdStrike tools in newer product categories are finding surging demand from customers, and services opportunities are growing rapidly, as well, executives said.

[Related: CrowdStrike Widens Its Strike Zone With ‘Something Better’ For SMB Security]

Ultimately, CrowdStrike understands that when it comes to bringing security technologies to customers, “everything starts with a partner,” Co-Founder and CEO George Kurtz said during the Partner Summit session Monday.

CrowdStrike also noted how much the company’s channel community has grown in recent years, with more than 1,000 partners registered for Fal.Con and 700 of those attending the Partner Summit. In 2018, CrowdStrike had just 129 partners, said Michael Rogers (pictured), vice president of global business development, channel and alliances. “I think there’s 129 partners in the first four rows here,” Rogers said.

The Partner Summit coincided with the unveiling of CrowdStrike’s revamped partner program, Accelerate, which introduced new incentives, improved training and increased support resources in areas such as marketing.

What follows are five big takeaways from CrowdStrike’s 2023 Partner Summit.

Selling The Platform

During the Partner Summit session, Kurtz (pictured) urged partners to embrace CrowdStrike’s ability to offer a consolidated security platform, not just EDR. “If you’re thinking about CrowdStrike as just endpoint security, you’re thinking about it the wrong way,” he said. “In 2023, you’re really buying the platform story, and all of the outcomes that you can get by harnessing the power of a single agent, a data store and multiple workflows on top of it.”

CrowdStrike has been working hard at making it easier for partners to embrace — and sell — more of the Falcon platform, Kurtz said. The company’s focus is on being able to “empower and enable our partners, as well as their own sellers, to do more — to understand what we’re doing, what we’re creating and how we’re solving problems for customers,” he said.

“And I think that’s been, candidly, a bit of a challenge for us. I think we’re a product of our own success in many areas — we’ve grown through very quickly,” Kurtz said. “And at 23 modules, how do we actually make it easier for everyone to sell our technologies? How do we package things up a bit more so that it’s easier to sell?”

Ultimately, “the commitment back to this group here is, better enablement, better training, better certifications — which is really what we’re focused on,” he said. “The better trained we are, the better we’re able to be prepared to go out and fight the competition, and get the security outcomes that our customers are looking for.”

Focus On Identity, Cloud, SIEM

In terms of partner enablement, much of CrowdStrike’s focus right now is on helping partners to bring its offerings in three areas — identity protection, cloud security and “next-gen” SIEM (security information and event management) via LogScale — to customers. “More products means more opportunities,” said CrowdStrike Chief Business Officer Daniel Bernard.

All three categories are finding surging demand from customers amid changing threats, and each has grown into a massive business on its own, executives said. “The growth in those three products is astronomical,” said CrowdStrike President Michael Sentonas during the Partner Summit.

To help drive further growth in the categories with partners, CrowdStrike this week announced a new incentive for individual sellers at partners around identity protection, cloud security and LogScale. The incentive, CrowdCard is a debit card that will be automatically loaded with funds when salespeople close a deal in one of the categories, Bernard said.

‘Most Successful Channel’

CrowdStrike is not just finding traction with a few top partners, either, executives said during the Partner Summit Monday. There are now more than 300 partners that have done more than $5 million in revenue with CrowdStrike, Bernard (pictured) said — and 160 of those partners have done more than $10 million in revenue with the company. “This is what building a world-class, partner-first ecosystem is all about,” he said. Ultimately, at CrowdStrike, “we are committed to building cybersecurity’s most successful channel,” Bernard said.

Services Opportunities

CrowdStrike’s expansion into a comprehensive platform is also proving to be a massive services opportunity for partners, executives said during the Partner Summit. In the past, it wasn’t always immediately clear where the service opportunities might be when CrowdStrike’s main offering was an easy-to-deploy endpoint security tool, Sentonas said. However, while CrowdStrike’s products remain comparatively easy to deploy, “today when people are buying the platform — and they’re deploying [numerous] different modules — they’re big projects,” he said.

“And they’re big projects that need everybody in this room, to not only take those technologies to market but [also] to help customers get value from those products — whether it’s the installation, the configuration, the tuning of those technologies,” Sentonas said. “[Or] whether it’s taking one of those platform packages with all the different architectures and building a managed service around that.”

To have partners that can deliver these services around CrowdStrike’s platform and its multiple product capabilities is “critically important,” he said.

Integrations Are Key

In addition to platform consolidation of in-house CrowdStrike capabilities, another key theme discussed throughout the company’s Partner Summit Monday was the need for security technologies to integrate well with third-party tools. While consolidation of as many capabilities as possible on the CrowdStrike platform is a priority for many customers, “they then want to know more [about] what else can we integrate from the ecosystem?” Sentonas (pictured) said. In particular, many customers are interested in integrations with vendors including Zscaler, Cloudflare, Proofpoint, Mimecast, Abnormal Security, Netskope, Okta and Ping Identity, he noted. “It’s a bigger conversation that we’re having all the time.”

And CrowdStrike has placed a high priority on integrating effectively with these and other third-party tools, Sentonas said. “It’s one of the reasons why we are growing so aggressively,” he said.