Sentinel CTO: 6 Huge Security Bets On Cisco, SASE And Cloud

From Cisco and public cloud to SASE, Sentinel Technologies CTO Bob Keblusek tells CRN where his company is placing its cybersecurity investments to drive security sales.

Sentinel Technologies’ Plan To Continue Driving Security Growth

Fast-growing Sentinel Technologies is doubling down on launching next-level cybersecurity practices, end-to-end security services and driving secure access service edge (SASE) sales with Cisco, Palo Alto Networks and Zscaler.

Bob Keblusek, chief innovation and technology officer for Sentinel Technologies, said cybersecurity services and sales are soaring in 2022.

“We have such a big emphasis on security right now,” said Keblusek, who has three decades worth of top IT experience. “It’s the most important topic right now for most of our customers. It’s only going to continue to grow.”

Keblusek said the global COVID-19 pandemic spurred years-worth of technology advancements and digital transformation initiatives forward in the matter of months.

“Now as we go back and we find that balance, there’s a permanent level of hybrid work that is going to remain in place. There’s a lot of people returning to the office or working from home, which gives us a lot of opportunity. We’ve got to secure all that. They’ve got to have a similar, if not equal experience, at home as they do in the office,” said Keblusek. “There’s quite a lot of security that goes into that and we’re in a great position to offer our security portfolio across the board.”

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The Downers Grove, Ill.-based solution provider made CRN’s 2022 Managed Security 100 list, which highlights the top MSPs with cloud-based security services expertise, as well as CRN’s Tech Elite 250 list. Sentinel is a top national partner for the likes of Cisco and VMware, with more than 500 employees in seven offices across the U.S.

In an interview with CRN, Keblusek discusses six big security bets Sentinel is banking on this year aimed at driving revenue, customer stickiness and helping businesses survive the onslaught of cyber threats.

Cisco Security And SASE

Secure access service edge, known as SASE, combines security and networking functions in the cloud to deliver secure access to applications anywhere. With hybrid work now in place, Sentinel is witnessing big SASE sales growth as both offices and workers at home need to be protected at all times.

Sentinel is leveraging Cisco’s top-notch SASE offerings to drive security sales. The networking giant’s SASE portfolio includes core capabilities like SD-WAN, secure web gateway, cloud access security broker, firewall as-a-service and zero-trust network access, all under one roof.

“A lot of their SASE comes from their Viptela and Meraki acquisitions, and those are both years old. So they’ve benefited a lot from Cisco R&D and we’ve done a lot of both,” said Keblusek. “Then Cisco Umbrella, which they acquired from OpenDNS, is another great solution … Cisco’s done a great job of putting in the R&D to make it all work well together. That has helped us and then we’ve got our strong security monitoring portfolio. So our SOC has full capabilities on every single Cisco security product.”

Cloud Security Services: Azure And AWS

One big bet Sentinel is doubling down on in 2022 is security services around Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.

Keblusek said one of the biggest roadblocks of cloud adoption in the past has been customers unsure of cloud security capabilities. However, the R&D cloud market leaders like Azure and AWS have made in cybersecurity over the past few years has impressed Sentinel.

“We’ve had a lot of strides around public cloud: Azure and AWS, specifically,” said Keblusek. “We’re really bringing our entire fully managed and hybrid managed services experience to those public cloud providers. So that’s been growing tremendously for us and then, of course, we wrap that in security.”

Sentinel’s CTO said one of the top inhibitors in the past to cloud adoption has been security, “but now some would argue there’s so many security controls and capabilities when you move to cloud services from on-premises, that we start to really enable customers to improve their security as they migrate to cloud.”

Sentinel Creates Next-Level Security Practice: Fortis By Sentinel

In a move to drive security sales even further, the company has launched Fortis by Sentinel, a portfolio of security services and solutions that proactively protects every aspect of a client’s digital and physical environment.

Sentinel’s next-level offering provides organizations with effective tools to defend its systems, data, and users against an ever-evolving threat landscape as well as with 24x7x365 monitoring.

“We have a whole branch, Fortis by Sentinel, that we’ve taken to market that includes active defense focused on detection and response, XDR [extended detection and response] with a full SOC [Security Operations Center], DevOps teams, a robust offering for our customers with a Threat Intelligence Center, and a threat investigation center that we built out,” said Keblusek.

Fortis by Sentinel has analyzed over 12 million events and stopped around 6,500 actionable attacks.

SASE From Palo Alto Networks And Zscaler

Sentinel offers a slew of security products and SASE offerings in its SOC from Zscaler and Palo Alto Networks.

Specifically, Sentinel is betting on Palo Alto Networks’ Prisma cloud-based security package which includes advanced threat protection, user behavior monitoring, access control and other cybersecurity services. Palo Alto Networks dubs Prisma as the industry’s only comprehensive cloud-native security platform.

Another key SASE benefit from Palo Alto Networks came in 2020, with the acquisition of SD-WAN standout CloudGenix. “Palo Alto invests pretty heavily in their products around cloud security from Prisma. They also bought CloudGenix who had one of the leading SD-WAN products. So they’ve made some really good investments,” said Keblusek.

Another cloud security vendor that is receiving good market traction is Zscaler. The company’s Zscaler Internet Access and Zscaler Private Access aims to create fast, secure connections between users and applications, regardless of device, location or network.

“Zscaler works with many different manufacturers with some native integrations, and they’ve had really strong market presence,” Keblusek said.

Active Recovery Services

One fast-growing security services for Sentinel this year is around active recovery which provides customers a full team of Sentinel experts when an incident occur.

“We’ve got our active recovery services—which in the unfortunate event of any customer having an incident, and they’re getting far more common—we have full teams and Incident Commanders ready to respond. We’re working side-by-side with both cyber insurers as well. That’s turning into a very proactive business,” said Keblusek.

Keblusek said customer aren’t just calling Sentinel when they have an incident now, “they’re calling us before incidents and we’re able to stop them sooner, and help those customers recover faster to keep their business operating and their reputations intact.”

Healthcare Innovations

Another area of focus for Sentinel is around innovation in the healthcare industry to enable healthcare providers the opportunity to reduce stress on doctors, nursing, pharmacy and more while improving the patient experience and improving the quality and accuracy of care.

One of the solution provider’s largest vertical markets is healthcare with a long history of providing integration and managed services within the industry. However, over the past few years, Sentinel has doubled down on hiring dozens of resources with many decades of experience in the industry to better align business with technology and modernizing the experiences for both caregivers and patients.

“This covers many technologies including collaboration, hybrid cloud adoption, PACs imaging modernization as well as solutions in the area of clinical communication and collaboration systems,” said Keblusek. “What is unique about our position here is that we have on staff clinically certified individuals and highly experienced consultants that focus on delivering solutions unique to the healthcare market.”

The clinical communications and care collaboration solutions are very unique in that Sentinel is evolving the entire workplace, such as moving nursing from dry erase boards to interactive touch screen systems integrated to the entire care environment including beds, room signal and panels, personal wear devices and more.

“These solutions are real game changers for care organizations struggling with staffing issues and a need to drive cost out of the business while improving care and patient experience,” he said.