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Trellix ‘Fully Committed’ To Letting Partners Do Managed XDR Services

Kyle Alspach

The cybersecurity vendor’s CEO and channel chief tell CRN that while some rivals want to deliver managed services themselves, Trellix is focused on creating services opportunities for partners around its XDR platform.

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Trellix SVP Britt Norwood

For managed service provider One Source, the medium-sized enterprises that form its customer base are doing their part by making the right investments to boost their cybersecurity posture. But amid the widespread talent crunch, most of the security teams employed at One Source customers are “pretty thin,” according to Eric Gressel, executive vice president of sales at the Greenville, N.C.-based MSP.

“They’re looking to team up or partner with a team like ourselves, to really be that external force for them,” Gressel said.

[Related: Trellix CEO Bryan Palma: Our XDR Is The ‘Most Comprehensive In The Market’]

It’s maybe no coincidence, then, that the core technology behind One Source’s security operation comes from a vendor that’s focused on empowering partners on managed services — not on trying to provide managed services itself.

The vendor, Trellix, has made a rock-solid commitment to enabling MSPs and MSSPs to deliver their services around its extended detection and response (XDR) platform, rather than competing with partners in that arena, Trellix executives told CRN.

The executives — Trellix CEO Bryan Palma and Channel Chief Britt Norwood — said that this commitment stands in contrast to the strategies of many of the major XDR vendors today.

“We’re fully committed to the managed platform, but we’re doing it through the channel,” said Norwood, senior vice president and head of Americas sales at Trellix. “We’re not looking to build it ourselves and compete with our channel in that space, like some of our competitors are.”

Prioritizing Threats

One of the fastest-growing categories in cybersecurity today, XDR aims to enhance cyberdefense by correlating data from across an organization’s tools and environments, and then prioritizing the most serious threats for a response.

XDR can thus be used as the backbone for a modernized approach to security operations, making it an ideal tool for providers of managed security services. At the same time, many XDR vendors have also made the decision to offer managed services to customers themselves, Palma noted.

Trellix is not one of them, he said.

“I feel pretty strongly that having these great partners who can come in and do the services is really an advantage for us and for our customers,” Palma told CRN. “We’re not interested in being in that business.”

While other security vendors “are getting more and more into the services space,” he said, “we’re going in the other direction.”

Channel-First Strategy

Formerly a Cisco Systems veteran, Palma has been the CEO of Trellix since it was formed in early 2022. Following the merger of FireEye and McAfee Enterprise in 2021, the combined company was split into two vendors by its owner Symphony Technology Group — with the parts of the business focused on endpoint security and security operations becoming Trellix. (The remaining security service edge business became Skyhigh Security).

Ever since the relaunch as Trellix, the company’s aim has been “to be the XDR market leader,” Palma said. And the vendor is doing that by maintaining a partner-first approach, he said, with nearly 90 percent of Trellix’s revenue generated via the channel.

In early February, the company launched its new channel program that unifies the two previous programs from FireEye and McAfee Enterprise. The Trellix Xtend partner program has been designed to provide the highest rewards to partners that are providing services, and that are “really doing the certifications and really learning and investing in our platform,” Norwood said.

Additionally, in terms of sales, “we want to reward them for hunting and actually finding opportunities and bringing them to us,” he said.

The Xtend program includes three tiers — Growth, Momentum and Collaborate — in place of the prior metal-based levels. For the top tier, Collaborate, “those are the partners that we want to give the biggest incentives or rewards to,” Norwood said.

Other key updates with the program include a new partner portal that is easier to navigate in order to find the relevant information, he said.

Simplified Approach

For One Source, which had previously been a partner of FireEye for a number of years, “we’re invigorated” by the new program Trellix has put in place, Gressel said.

“FireEye had a good program, but what we see in what Britt and team have put together is the path to a great program,” he said. The Trellix program is “simple,” but “also has depth” that One Source is looking for, Gressel said.

In addition, when it comes to putting partners first, “a lot of people say they do that and most people don’t act upon that,” he said.

Norwood and his channel team at Trellix, however, have “spent the time building out true programs, committing to mutual goals, having those follow-ups and so forth. That’s something that I really appreciate out of their program,” Gressel said.

For the Trellix XDR platform itself, it’s a major advantage for One Source to be able to use “all these solutions [through] the XDR platform in one centralized place,” he said. “Having to stitch together a bunch of different providers is a nightmare.”

Ultimately, “I think what clients really appreciate is it’s a simplified, holistic view to the security outcome they’re looking for — in one conversation, versus four to six siloed, individual conversations,” Gressel said.

For the cybersecurity teams at end customers that are making the final decisions on how to respond to security issues, they’re already “exhausted,” he said.

But whereas other competing tools tend to “start adding complexity in the decision-making,” Gressel said, “Trellix comes in and reduces that considerably.”

Kyle Alspach

Kyle Alspach is a Senior Editor at CRN focused on cybersecurity. His coverage spans news, analysis and deep dives on the cybersecurity industry, with a focus on fast-growing segments such as cloud security, application security and identity security.  He can be reached at kalspach@thechannelcompany.com.

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