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Cybersecurity Startup Axonius Hires Cylance Vet As New Channel Chief

'During my process of speaking with key executives, it was very clear that the channel is a corporate strategy that is important for Axonius and an area where we expect large returns from,' Mark Daggett, Axonius' new channel chief, tells CRN about the growth strategy for the startup's asset management platform.

Cybersecurity startup Axonius has hired a Cylance veteran to expand the vendor's channel program as partners start to embrace the company's asset management platform.

The New York-based company announced on Tuesday the hiring of Mark Daggett as its vice president of channels and alliances — a role that was created to capitalize on the company's momentum with channel partners, which includes Optiv and Guidepoint among more than two dozen others.

[Related: Cisco IoT Security Architecture Launched To Simplify, Defend Industrial IoT]

"During my process of speaking with key executives, it was very clear that the channel is a corporate strategy that is important for Axonius and an area where we expect large returns from," Daggett told CRN an in interview.

Daggett previously spent four years in channel roles at Cylance, which has seen a string of high-level departures, including its co-founder, since it was acquired by Blackberry in February 2019 for $1.4 billion. His most recent role at Cylance was director of global distribution. Prior to Cylance, he was director of channel sales at Quest Software while it was owned by Dell.

With its cybersecurity asset management platform, Axonius aims to help businesses identify, manage and enforce security policies for the increasing amounts of devices and endpoints coming onto the network, whether it's traditional PCs, IoT devices or even cloud computing instances.

"We're able to pull all data from those different sources and aggregate and correlate it, so it's easy for a client to understand what's in their environment and provide queries to let them identify where they might have [security] gaps," Daggett said.

Axonius supports 196 integrations with vendors, including Cisco, Check Point Software Technologies, Carbon Black, Armis and Forescout — all of which is in service of giving businesses better visibility and control of their entire IT environment, whether on-premises or in the cloud.

Getting clients started only takes less than an hour, Daggett said. From there, the platform can provide recommendations on how to improve security, whether it's implementing agents on devices, issuing patches, creating new policies or isolating a rogue device.

"Without that information, it’s a challenge for partners to come in there and get a good look and add the most value they can for their clients," Daggett said.

For partners, Axonius currently offers a single-tier program with deal registration that gives higher margins off the vendor's annual subscription revenue to those who bring in new customers.

"If they bring us into a net new opportunity, it will be a higher, double-digit margin," Daggett said. "Normally it's going to be a little lower when Axonius brings partners to an opportunity. But when we bring them an opportunity, it helps them understand the sales process and hear our value proposition."

Axonius already has some large clients, like The New York Times, Schneider Electric, Porsche and Anheuser Busch — which is the vendor's sweet spot since larger enterprises tend to have more complex and siloed IT environments, according to Daggett.

"Primarily because those organizations are larger, they have more devices, more software systems and more cloud instances," he said while adding that he believes there's an opportunity for small- and medium-sized businesses, too.

In his new role as Axonius' channel chief, Daggett said his top priority for 2020 is building out the channel in the U.S. while his secondary focuses are expanding with partners in Europe, the Middle East and Africa as well as with global system integrators like Accenture.

Expanding the company's channel presence includes hiring regional partner managers, building incentives beyond deal registration to help with profitability and investing in enablement and training resources for sales and technical teams, according to Daggett.

But while Daggett is intent in growing the partner list, he wants to make sure it's done in a smart way.

"I don’t want to saturate it where partners compete with each other," he said. "We want to provide clients with different options. However, I don’t want situations where I have six or seven partners in one region bumping into each other."

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