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Proofpoint Expanding Channel And Sales Teams, Adds Two Specializations

The new Security Awareness Training and Information Protection specializations ‘give partners the ability to build a practice or managed service around our technology,’ says Joe Sykora, Proofpoint’s senior vice president of worldwide channels and partner sales.

Proofpoint is significantly beefing up its channel team and offerings as part of its overall campaign to expand the company through organic growth.

In a presentation at this week’s virtual Best of Breed event, hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company, Joe Sykora, senior vice president of worldwide channels and partner sales, detailed the moves Proofpoint is making to spur that growth.

To that end, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based email security vendor is planning to hire hundreds of new sales and channel personnel over the coming year, Sykora said later in an interview with CRN.

In all, Proofpoint plans to invest 50 percent more money into its channel marketing in 2022, he said, noting that 90 percent of Proofpoint’s current revenue comes via the channel.

“We’re a channel-first company—and we’re going to stay that way,” said Sykora.

And Proofpoint is most definitely looking to team up with new channel partners to work with and grow together, he said.

As part of its expansion plan, Proofpoint has launched two partner specializations—Security Awareness Training and Information Protection—that “give partners the ability to build a practice or managed service around our technology,” Sykora said.

The Security Awareness Training specialization addresses a potential $2.1 billion market, while the Information Protection specialization addresses a potential $6.4 billion market.

For new partners jumping into any of these two Proofpoint specializations, Proofpoint is ready to help them with an array of resources to help them grow their business, including joint marketing programs, Sykora said.

For the Security Awareness Training specialization, Proofpoint is looking for about 100 new partners and for the Information Protection specialization, it is looking for about 25 new partners, Sykora said

In addition to the two specialization programs, Proofpoint has recently launched a new managed services program with a dedicated team helping current and potential partners to become MSPs, Sykora said.

Mark Jones, CEO of Black Lake Security, an Austin, Texas-based VAR and managed services company, said that the company’s move to increase its sales and channel team by hundreds of employees shows it’s committed to the channel.

“It definitely perks our ears up,” said Jones, whose firm is a longtime partner of Proofpoint. “It’s a great company. We’re going to double down on Proofpoint this year.”

Alex Bulischeck, an account executive at Avertium, a Phoenix-based MSSP, said his company is in discussions about becoming a Proofpoint partner.

He said he’s impressed with Proofpoint’s projected investments in the channel, including the hiring of hundreds of new sales and channel employees and boosting its channel marketing budget by 50 percent.

“If someone is going to [tap into] the channel, you want to see this level of commitment,” said Bulischeck. “It emphasizes they’re putting the channel at the forefront of their efforts. They’re putting their money where their mouth is.”

Proofpoint’s push deeper into the channel comes at a time of major changes for the company.

In March, Ashen Willy, the former executive vice president and general manager of security products and services at Proofpoint, was named full-time CEO of the company, after the previous CEO and company founder, Gary Steele, resigned to become CEO of data platform giant Splunk.

Last year, Proofpoint was also acquired by Thoma Bravo, a private equity firm, in an all-cash transaction that valued Proofpoint at $12.3 billion.

Meanwhile, before and after being acquired by Thoma Bravo, Proofpoint has been on an acquisition binge of sorts, buying Meta Networks for $120 million last year and purchasing Dathena for an undisclosed sum earlier this year.

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