New Mimecast Channel Chief Kurt Mills Plans To Pursue Enterprise Customers

Mimecast has tasked Mills with putting a systematic approach in place covering everything from training and technical support to marketing and vendor partnerships to capture enterprise customers.

Kurt Mills plans to tap into his experience helping Blue Coat Systems, Websense and McAfee move upmarket to pursue and land larger accounts for Mimecast.

The Lexington, Mass.-based email security vendor has tasked Mills with putting a systematic approach in place covering everything from training and technical support to marketing and vendor partnerships. Mills became Mimecast's vice president of channel sales in May following channel leadership roles over the past dozen years at FireMon, Blue Coat Systems, Aerohive Networks, Mimecast and McAfee.

"Partners selling into the enterprise space want to have vendors that will work together," Mills said.

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Large customers won't provide vendors with access until history, credibility and trust have been established, according to Mills. As a result, Mills said Mimecast's account reps, sales engineers, marketing team and channel team all need to engage with and support the customer.

Small changes such as engaging in account mapping and heat mapping, adding cross-reference capabilities, and rolling out playbooks that different business units can rally around make a big difference when working with enterprise customers, Mills said.

Mills also wants to evolve Mimecast's partner program to make it more channel-centric by hiring a global channel operations leader, infusing the company's partner portal with more mobile capabilities, and rolling out a new platform that's expected to make it easier for solution providers to position Mimecast to customers without having to participate in out-of-pocket training classes.

The bread and butter of Mimecast's go-to-market strategy has been midmarket customers with between 1,000 and 10,000 users, with the company enjoying a 111 percent retention rate thanks to taking advantage of upsell opportunities, according to Ed Jennings, Mimecast's chief operating officer.

The biggest greenspace for growth, Jennings said, is with larger health-care or Tier 2 financial organizations that are heavily regulated and have big security needs but lack the budget of a Tier 1 major commercial bank, Jennings said.

As Mimecast moves upmarket, Jennings said customers expect more visibility into threat intelligence data so that they can identify which individuals are most heavily targeted, the most pervasive types of malware in each geography, as well as other vital trends and patterns. Communicating this information via a dashboard gives security teams something pragmatic to work with, Jennings said.

Based on the message or file information in the intelligence data, Jennings said larger customers have the knowledge necessary to remediate across one or multiple mailboxes, especially if that remediation can be automated or simplified. In addition, Jennings said larger customers expect API feeds that go into their SIEM (security information and event management) tools like Splunk, IBM QRadar or LogRhythm.

Feeding information from Mimecast into SIEM or SOAR (security orchestration, automation and response) products allows for information to be correlated, Jennings said, making threats more visible and real. Mimecast has a vast reservoir of data, Jennings said, having collected and seen 160 billion emails between April and June 2019, many of which were malicious in some way, shape or form.

Efficacy is a challenge for customers of all sizes, Jennings said, with customers wishing to leverage the technology they've already sunk a lot of money into. Adding capabilities to the platform by strengthening communication between the endpoint platform and the security gateway will ultimately provide customers with a more robust experience, Jennings said.

Niccolo Alicandri has known Mills for a number of years and considers him to be a "very effective channel leader" thanks to his ability to listen and quickly react to partner concerns. Alicandri is the co-founder and chief business officer at New York-based solution provider CipherTechs.

Mimecast has the potential to significantly strengthen its ties with the channel in the email security space, Alicandri said. Alicandri praised Mills for being decisive from a personnel standpoint in his first few months at Mimecast.

"He's made some leadership changes in the Northeast, and so far, the hires have been strong," Alicandri said. "He's kept the right people, and he's added in the right places."