CRN In Depth: CrowdStrike CEO Kurtz Speaks To The Channel
Wade Tyler Millward, Kyle Alspach
In this edition of CRN In Depth, Kyle Alspach speaks about his interview with CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz.
CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz wants solution providers to understand the risks that go with trusting Microsoft security by itself.
And he views solution providers themselves as key to CrowdStrike’s future growth.
These are some of the big takeaways from CRN Senior Editor Kyle Alspach’s interview with Kurtz, online now and in print in October.
CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz On Microsoft
In this edition of CRN In Depth, Alspach spoke with CRN Senior Associate Editor Wade Tyler Millward about his interview with Kurtz and the decisions solution providers will have to make looking ahead as customers’ demand for security tools reaches a fever pitch.
This is a transcript of their conversation.
Wade Millward: Hi, everyone. Welcome back to CRN In Depth, where we dive into a big channel story unfolding now with the reporter who covered it.
I’m Wade Millward, senior associate editor for CRN. And today I’m speaking with CRN Senior Editor Kyle Alspach about his interview with CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz.
It’s online now and in print in October. Kyle, thanks for joining me.
Kyle Alspach: Thanks, Wade.
WM: So, Kyle, what’s your biggest takeaway from your interview with George Kurtz?
KA: My biggest takeaway from that interview for partners is that CrowdStrike is really serious about reaching SMBs.
That’s the new customer segment that they’re going after really aggressively right now. And they’re doing it primarily with the help of channel partners.
And this is a huge move just because it’s not super common for enterprise software companies to prioritize reaching SMBs. Microsoft has done it in the past, but it hasn’t necessarily been the common thing to do because it’s very difficult.
There’s a reason why many software vendors just focus on enterprises because they know there’s only so many of them out there.
And the number of SMBs out there is infinite, almost. And so CrowdStrike is making a big commitment to prioritize reaching SMBs and to do it through partners.
WM: How is CrowdStrike trying to work with more solution providers?
KA: Well, there are two major ways.
One is they just revamped their channel program for all partners. So they’re trying to find new ways to incentivize partners of all types, whether or not they’re focused on SMB, to do more with CrowdStrike.
But as far as SMB specifically, one big partnership that they’ve just signed in the past few months is with Pax8, the cloud-focused distributor. And Pax8 is going to bring CrowdStrike to tens of thousands of MSPs out there that focus on the SMB market.
And so that’s just potentially a massive way to get this product into the hands of SMBs who typically in the past really have not had access to it or or wasn’t necessarily a version that was optimized for them or affordable to them.
So Pax8 and CrowdStrike are working together to do something pretty unique here. And make CrowdStrike, which has been considered to be a very effective product in especially endpoint security, which is their original focus.
But now they’ve expanded into other areas like identity security and cloud security. But overall CrowdStrike’s Falcon platform, it has just been considered to be just a very, very effective product.
And they’ve made a big difference, from what I’m told, in terms of cybersecurity at the enterprise level. And now they’re looking to do the same thing at the SMB level with the help of folks like Pax8.
WM: Well, anyone who watches CrowdStrike knows that George Kurtz is not shy about his feelings toward Microsoft. Kyle, what’s an important message for Microsoft partners based on your interview?
KA: The first thing to say just up front is that CrowdStrike and Microsoft are rivals.
They compete in endpoint security and other areas of security. So you know George Kurtz is not unbiased. But I think his big point or message: you don’t even have to worry about that aspect of it to see that Microsoft has some big cybersecurity issues.
And that it’s not just in their products or not just in their business platforms. But it’s also in their security tools. And so Microsoft Defender is their big endpoint security tool.
And from talking to George Kurtz, his point is that CrowdStrike finds that in three out of four breaches that they respond to, Microsoft Defender had been bypassed by hackers.
And so George Kurtz’s big message is that when partners are being asked to lock down security for their customers and customers just want this whole security thing to be handled for them, I think his message is, do you want to be relying on a tool like Microsoft Defender for that, that has this track record.
Or do you want something that’s got just a stronger track record for security?
WM: Yeah. Yeah. A lot of opportunity for security partners. But definitely a lot of decisions to make looking ahead.
That’s going to wrap up this episode of CRN in Depth. For more of our cybersecurity coverage, please visit crn.com. And thank you for chatting with me today, Kyle.
KA: Thanks so much.