Secureworks CEO Wendy Thomas On Shifting From MSSP To XDR And A ‘Partner-First’ Model
With the transition from managed security services provider to vendor now well underway, and demand surging for its extended detection and response (XDR) platform, Thomas tells CRN that ‘it was time to make the full transition to partner-first.’
Doubling Down On XDR, Partners
Cybersecurity firm Secureworks is at “the end of the beginning” of its transition from a managed security services provider (MSSP) to a vendor focused on providing extended detection and response (XDR) capabilities to customers, Secureworks President and CEO Wendy Thomas told CRN. At the same time, Secureworks is deeply leveraging its knowledge and experience of managing security for customers in the way that it has built its Taegis XDR platform, which has been built “from the ground up, from the first line of code,” Thomas said.
As part of its transition away from being an MSSP itself, the company has in recent years been moving to do more with channel partners — an effort that took a big step forward in December when Secureworks committed that all new Taegis business will be sold with the help of partners in North America. “It was time to make the full transition to partner-first,” Thomas said in a recent interview with CRN. Ultimately, partners “have a great opportunity to build a high-margin services business on top of a high-margin product resale business” with Secureworks, whose XDR platform utilizes security data feeds from across a customer’s entire environment, not just endpoints and networks. The “open” XDR platform has the ability to collect and correlate data feeds from numerous third-party tools, and then analyze the data together in a unified way in order to help security teams prioritize the most-pressing threats to tackle.
As evidence of the company’s momentum in XDR, Secureworks disclosed hitting $222 million in annual recurring revenue, up 80 percent year over year as of the end of October for its Taegis platform. XDR is the core of the Taegis platform, though it’s also available with other add-on modules such as vulnerability detection and response (VDR).
Earlier this month, Secureworks, whose majority owner is Dell Technologies, disclosed that it has cut 9 percent of its workforce as part of “aligning its investments more closely with its strategic priorities.” Those priorities include its “higher value, higher margin Taegis solutions,” the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Secureworks joined numerous other companies in the cybersecurity industry, as well as in the tech industry overall, in cutting back on staff amid the worsening economic environment. CRN spoke with Thomas prior to the disclosure of the layoffs.
What follows is an edited portion of CRN’s interview with Thomas on the Secureworks transition from MSSP to an XDR provider with a partner-focused sales model.