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Area 1 Security Scores Channel Coup With Steve Pataky Hire

Email security vendor Area 1 has tasked SonicWall, FireEye and Juniper channel vet Steve Pataky with fast-tracking a formal MSSP program and adding between 30 and 40 solution providers over the next six months

Area 1 Security has snagged solution provider superstar Steve Pataky to launch an all-out channel offensive by embracing MSSPs and selling exclusively through partners.

The Redwood City, Calif.-based email security vendor has tasked Pataky - a veteran of the SonicWall, FireEye and Juniper channel organizations - with fast-tracking a formal MSSP program and adding between 30 and 40 channel partners over the next six months. Pataky will also be laser-focused on building out a sales and technical enablement engine to help partners evangelize Area 1 to prospects.

“You’ve got a huge shift in the technology space,” Pataky told CRN exclusively. “Area 1 is so much of the right product at the right time that’s solving a real problem that businesses have.”

[Related: Area 1 Security Snags Ex-SonicWall Vet Patrick Sweeney As CEO]

Pataky started Aug. 17 as Area 1’s chief revenue officer and will be working under Patrick Sweeney, who joined the company four-and-a-half months earlier as president and CEO. Pataky and Sweeney worked alongside one another at SonicWall in 2016 and 2017, where Pataky oversaw sales and channels while Sweeney spearheaded marketing and product management.

“It’s almost like they’re getting the band back together,” said Michael Crean, CEO of Solutions Granted and Area 1 partner. “They’re making an incredible play to recreate the golden years of SonicWall that were so channel focused and friendly. I think they’re building a family out there.”

Crean described Pataky as kind, trustworthy, honorable and ethical in a way that goes well beyond professional requirements, and praised Pataky for constantly checking in with partners and “wrangling cats” to make sure their issues are being addressed. Pataky gets back to partners in a “ridiculously quick manner” and is always willing to talk with partners about successes and struggles in their business.

“I don’t think I’ve ever worked with anyone who’s had as much focus and commitment to the channel,” Crean said. “I think Area 1 is incredibly fortunate to get him.”

Area 1’s native cloud-based email security lends itself very well to MSSPs since it provides scale, efficacy and recurring revenue without having to retrofit and virtualize like legacy secure email gateway firms, Pataky said. The company’s MSSP program will optimize pricing, delivery and support and package up threat intelligence with proactive services that protect against business email compromise (BEC).

Pataky is also focused on building out a partner portal that goes beyond deal registration functionality to offer solution providers rich content assets that help them get the word out about Area 1. An examination of Area 1’s sales motion should identify opportunities to better incorporate territory managers, inside sales and sales development reps (SDRs) with the channel community, Pataky said.

The company has increased its share of business flowing through the channel from essentially nothing when Sweeney started as CEO in April to around 25 percent today, Pataky said. Area 1’s aspiration is to have 100 percent of its business flow through the channel, meaning that the company is transitioning existing business to channel partners, including accounts with Fortune 100 or Fortune 500 enterprises.

Synnex is Area 1’s distributor in North America, and Pataky said all of the company’s channel business will flow through distribution. Pretty much all of Area 1’s business is in North America today, and although international sales haven’t been an area of focus to date, Pataky said it’ll be a priority for the company’s growth going forward.

Area 1 has between 12 and 14 channel partners today, and Pataky said the company would like to add security solution providers that have embraced the shift away from traditional perimeter-based appliances. Traditional solution providers, MSSPs, agents and consultants alike could find value in the technology and programs Area 1 will be providing to the channel community, according to Pataky.

From a metrics standpoint, Pataky said Area 1 is looking to track partners across the recruitment lifecycle from qualifying their interest and going through discovery to working on the technical validation, creating a proposal and closing the deal. He said Area 1 is very focused on the enablement milestones that get a partner from expressing interest to signing their first deal and generating revenue.

Crean of Solutions Granted would encourage Pataky to focus on MSSPs since it’s a fast-growing market segment and they’re able to bring additional intelligence to the table. Vendors like Area 1 excel when they treat MSSPs like the end customer and provide them with monthly billing, a detailed go-to-market strategy and a commitment from day 1 to be there for the MSSP in the long-run, according to Crean.

“Steve will be a catalyst for their channel program because of his good name and goodwill in the community,” Crean said. “This is a huge victory for Area 1.”

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