CRN Exclusive: Juniper Networks Channel Chief On Being 'Completely Committed' To Security

Juniper Channel Chief Bullish On Security

Juniper Networks channel chief Matt Hurley is confident in his company's security strategy around its software-defined secure networks (SDSN) platform.

"As a company, we're completely committed to the security market," said Matt Hurley, vice president of global channel sales and channel chief for Juniper, in an interview with CRN. "We've announced our SDSN strategy. We've brought in innovative products on the back half of 2016 to market that further that platform, and we see the average security deal size expand."

Hurley talks to CRN about its SDSN tied with Juniper's cloud vision, new security-focused channel programs and why partners should start partnering with each other to fill in gaps.

Why should partners place their bets on Juniper's security business?

We've been revamping our security portfolio and our security strategy … Part of relaunching a new portfolio is about evaluating not only your current portfolio – do you want something that's very similar, like just firewall-to-firewall? – or is there something bigger where you think you have a play and you should try to shape things? Juniper is transforming itself to be a software company. Large percentages of our R&D really goes into software. If you look at where we're making our bets, we're making our bets in software stacks.

In the [security] space, we stepped back as a company and we said, 'You know what? We certainly want to provide firewalls to the marketplace, but it's something more than just, "Hey, here's a new firewall."

[Our answer is] our cloud vision with Sky ATP (Advanced Threat Prevention) the Juniper secure cloud, that's the SDSN, which is security running throughout your entire network. That story is starting to resonate. As a company, we're completely committed to the security market.

Where does Juniper see security sales growth?

In 2016, our average deal size for security sales was 40 percent higher than the previous year, and a lot of that is bolstered because in the middle of the year we started announcing a refreshed product line and vision. The top 20 sales achievement partners sold 97 percent more security in 2016 and 2015, and sales of our high-end SRX grew 28 percent in 2016 year-over-year. 2016 was a revamped product line and portfolio coming in the market [and] a new vision in how we see things that not only address the traditional network but the Internet of Things.

What are some Juniper security products partners should be excited about?

We've made a lot of strides with brand new products around our cSRX, which is our containerized firewall that is on the market right now. We've announced further security portfolio enhancements with our Security Director, which is a policy deployment software engine, that partners very well with Sky ATP which is Juniper's cloud.

Why is 2017 the time for Juniper partners to double-down on your security business?

When I step back and look at where we were as a company two years ago in security, we were talking about how the world was going to pivot and change, but we had a vision and not a product set … We now have a product line that not only addressed today's traditional security market with firewalls – and we're seeing 28 percent growth there and see deal sizes expanding – but then we have our cloud software-base solution so that we can not only have a discussion on the today but a discussion on the tomorrow.

Can you describe Juniper's security vision in the cloud age?

If you think about this virtualized world – of course, you're going to have firewalls – but you're also going to have things like IoT. We have the SDSN protecting throughout the entire network with detection, automation a, d openness. And then the ability of having your own cloud where we're able to map up the threats that you're having with other people, so we're able to get an overall holistic view.

What are the pillars of Juniper's software-defined secure networks (SDSN) vision?

There's three parts of SDSN. The first is part is detection and enforcement – so detect and mitigate threats throughout the entire network, not just at the perimeter. So security running throughout the entire network.

Automation also plays a role in here. A lot of times it's not just identifying the security issue, it's identifying what's a real issue and what's not a real issue.

The third one is that we really built this with open standards with a large number of industry technology alliances we have.

Who are some of Juniper's key technology alliances around security?

Juniper prides itself on openness, so there's several technology alliance partners that we've gone and signed up to work with us. Folks like CipherCloud, Aruba Networks and Carbon Black.

Are there any security-specific programs Juniper launched in the last couple of months?

We have a point-based rewards program where different partners can opt in depending on where they are in the world. We pivoted that heavily towards the security front. We doubled or tripled down on these [security and cloud] products and the rewards that sellers can get and we're seeing people embrace that.

We really stepped back as a team, we listened to our partners, they've helped us collaborate on our portfolio and we've put the programs in place kind of from beginning to help. It starts with a product, but it also goes through your entire go-to-market strategy.

Has Juniper seen any increased partner traffic since restructuring its Elite tier?

Yes because this business is changing. It's turning more towards services-led selling … So we have six or seven buckets of our Elite Partner Program where we are now actually seeing the follow-up where we're having partners go into those various buckets. So if you're the traditional VAR reseller – that's great, we have a program for you. Are you a services-only partner? We have a program for you.

Are you seeing more service-only solution providers seeking to become a Juniper partner because of the new Elite buckets?

We're now seeing services-only partners coming to Juniper saying, "Hey, I specialize in DevOps" or those types of things and we have a whole tailor program for them.

I see a further turn of the crank where we'll probably introduce programs later in the year to make it easier for partners to collaborate across those buckets. So if you and I were a VAR partner that specialized in services, we might not have the software skills we need. So how can we reach over and grab a software partner in? I think you'll see that mid-year.

Is that a big initiative for Juniper in 2017 – having partners connect with other partners to fill in gaps?

The market is moving so fast and it's complex. Very few firms are going to be able to have everything. We have some of those today, where partners will use other partners in certain kinds of solutions, but it's not oiled and greased through our partner program. We have to do a little more work on it, but it's going to be something going forward especially in a services-led model where firms might have specialized in a certain expertise like DevOps or certain types of software. We'd be advantageous to build better highways for them to use each other.

What types of security tools are you enabling your partners with?

We have the Juniper Marketing Concierge. A year and a half ago, I expanded the Concierge to have the ability to have demand generation campaigns. Then we launched seven different security campaigns in the middle of 2016, with three to four additional campaigns we added in the last couple of months because we're taking feedback from our partners on what they see working and not working. For the first half of 2017, we have four more targeting campaigns that we plan to launch.

Should partners expect any impact or changes from Juniper after the recent executive reorganization?

I don't think there's any impact … I've reached out to partners in our field, and this is one, I don't think there's a big impact, if any impact.