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Arctic Wolf Snags Sophos‘ Dan Schiappa As New Product Head

‘Every once in a while, you get an opportunity that’s so unique and outstanding ... Arctic Wolf is going through the perfect storm of goodness with everything converging around what they do well,’ says Schiappa.

Arctic Wolf landed longtime Sophos Chief Product Officer Dan Schiappa for the same role as the security operations vendor looks to expand into new technologies.

The Eden Prairie, Minn.-based company has tasked Schiappa with figuring out how Arctic Wolf can most effectively move into the threat intelligence, incident response, and endpoint protection markets. Arctic Wolf is also looking for Schiappa to best position the company’s managed detection and response (MDR) technology for success as the company grows its presence in Europe and among larger customers.

“Every once in a while, you get an opportunity that’s so unique and outstanding, and this was one of them,” Schiappa told CRN. “Arctic Wolf is going through the perfect storm of goodness with everything converging around what they do well.”

[Related: Arctic Wolf Buys Security Awareness Content Startup Habitu8]

Schiappa will lead Arctic Wolf’s product, engineering, and business development teams, which employ between 350 and 400 people. Specifically, he will oversee Arctic Wolf’s product management, research and development, corporate development, business development, alliance, and security awareness training functions. Schiappa most recently spent more than eight years as Sophos’ chief product officer.

“You can’t have a high-growth, high-performing SaaS company without a world-class product and R&D organization,” Arctic Wolf President and CEO Nick Schneider told CRN. “The two are very much married.”

When it comes to new technology areas, Schiappa said Arctic Wolf plans to examine both the market opportunity in that area as well as how close the company is to leveraging or capitalizing on that today. From there, Schiappa said Arctic Wolf will prioritize technologies that provide the greatest return on investment and determine whether it should move into the market through organic investment or M&A.

For areas of organic expansion, Schiappa said Arctic Wolf will design an investment plan, build out a product or R&D roadmap, and ensure the company has the right critical capabilities to do that. And for areas where Arctic Wolf doesn’t have any internal expertise, Schiappa said its likely easier to go and acquire a business that has some of that expertise and fit in into the into the overall product roadmap.

Going forward, Schiappa wants to ensure Arctic Wolf’s merger and acquisition strategy aligns with the company’s long-term corporate and product strategy. Arctic Wolf has purchased three companies over its 10-year history, most recently buying Habitu8 in September to create security awareness content that’s engaging and fun and not an annual check-the-box exercise focused primarily on compliance.

“Tuck-in acquisitions work really well for a company that is growing very fast,” Schiappa said. “They don‘t need to buy buildings or buy revenue. You’re looking to buy capabilities, whether that‘s technical capabilities or a combination of technical and people capabilities.”

Schiappa believes Europe represents a major greenfield for the company since European businesses don’t like to change their product portfolio but often lack the capability to handle security operations on their own. In response, Schiappa said Arctic Wolf’s product team needs to ensure the company has the right language and customer support in place and enhance its services capabilities to fulfill client needs.

“We’re very reliant on the channel, and we’ll continue to do so and expand our channel base as we expand geographically throughout the globe,” Schiappa said. “It’s all about scaling to the next level as a company, and that’s what I’m here to help Nick do.”

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