August 14, 2023
By Scott Goree - VP, Global Partners & Alliances, Skyhigh Security
This month, August 2023, officially marks my one-year anniversary as Skyhigh Security’s global channel chief – making it a great time to reflect on my top learnings thus far.
However, to understand my role in context, let’s first back up to the basics: “What is Skyhigh Security?” The company’s journey began in March 2022, approximately five months before I joined. Skyhigh Security emerged as a new, standalone entity – spun off from McAfee Enterprise – with the mission to protect organizations with cloud-native security solutions that are both data-aware and simple to use. Our solutions go beyond data access and focus on data use, allowing organizations to collaborate from any device and from anywhere without sacrificing security.
The Security Service Edge (SSE) market continues to expand to provide additional services to the cloud edge. And as we know, innovation is paramount to delivering next-generation capabilities for customers which requires intense focus, investment, and skillsets. Through Skyhigh Security, we provide the best technology, customer experience, and partnership for managing the complexities of security.
Throughout my career, I have been part of many acquisitions and mergers of partner programs. However, I had never experienced the intricacies of managing a channel ecosystem for a spinoff company like Skyhigh Security – in fact, no such playbook exists. When I started as global channel chief in August 2022, my biggest challenge was answering the question, “How do we evolve a channel to drive accretive growth out of the shadow of a much larger organization?”
Fostering a world class channel team
As the very first channel chief for Skyhigh Security, one of my first priorities was to ensure we had stellar channel leaders positioned for success. Our channel talent needed to wear many hats – from business development to marketing to enablement – and be able to foster strong relationships by being domain experts in all things go-to-market (GTM) strategy. In that spirit, we added true channel rockstars to our team: Hunter Haverty, global director of channel programs; Gary Matson, senior director of international channel sales; Jeff Tripp, senior director of America’s channel sales; Anne-Marie Clegg, global partner marketing lead; and so many others making an impact.
With these appointments, we created a worldwide channel organization focused on enabling our partners to better help customers solve the challenges associated with remote work environments while reducing costs and simplifying data protection. These leaders’ wealth of experience across multiple routes to market, software-as-a-service sales, and security – as well as their trusted relationships with leading partners – has been instrumental in solidifying our worldwide channel presence.
Finally, we built an organizational structure in which our channel account managers felt they belonged and had a defined career path.
Reimagining and launching our Partner Program
At Skyhigh Security, our extensive network of channel partners – including resellers, strategic integrators, and managed service providers – are the heartbeat of our business. In fact, 100% of Skyhigh Security’s business is done through mutually beneficial partnerships. Members of our executive leadership team, such as our CEO, Gee Rittenhouse, and our Chief Revenue Officer, Paul Barbosa, truly understand the value of the channel and were willing to commit to a 100% channel strategy versus a direct strategy.
In February 2023, we made a major investment in the success of our channel ecosystem with the launch of the Skyhigh Security Altitude Partner Program. We know that our channel partners have a choice in who they represent, so this program truly ups the ante on the benefits we’re offering partners, such as incentives, tools, and information to earn higher margins, increase opportunities for enablement, and close business faster.
We developed our mantra for the new program based on three key pillars: simple, predictable, and profitable. It’s easy to stack complexity in a program to account for multiple scenarios and there’s often a temptation to modify the program to meet these different cases. Skyhigh Security is standing strong with a simple program, where partners earn industry-leading profitability and a premium on channel sourced bookings.
Building Brand Awareness
Over the past year, my team and I have dedicated a lot of effort to increasing Skyhigh Security’s brand awareness. Everyone was familiar with McAfee, but we needed to spread awareness about our own unique identity, vision, and positioning within the market.
At Skyhigh Security, we provide solutions that solve real customer problems, and we want to communicate this in an authentic and straightforward way. When I joined, we had just created a new brand, including a new website, logo, messaging, collateral, and employee intranet. These assets allowed us to re-introduce Skyhigh Security to our customers to alleviate confusion and engender a sense of brand identity. After all, if customers don’t understand who makes their products work, they won’t feel engaged enough to commit for the long term.
You may be wondering how building brand awareness falls under the purview of a channel chief, but the answer is simple: our partners are an active community of brand advocates and play a valuable role in spreading the message of who we are at Skyhigh Security far and wide.
I’m happy to share that through our brand awareness campaigns, we’ve quickly built a name for ourselves. Our company has a lot to hang our hats on from 2023 alone – winning awards including the CRN 100 Coolest Cloud Companies and the CRN Edge Computing 100. Our channel team, specifically, has also been recognized in awards this year such as Channel Influencer by Channel Futures and the CRN Partner Program Guide Winner.
Engaging with our Key Alliances
Technical integrations are a key differentiator for Skyhigh Security. With over 100 integrations with complimentary security vendors and cloud service providers, we provide customers with a comprehensive solution that reduces their need to rely on multiple point products.
We also maintain deep relationships with our sister company, Trellix, and continue to develop a strong “endpoint to cloud” story together. When Skyhigh Security branched off as a separate entity from McAfee Enterprise, we also had the opportunity to partner with other vendors and build new, innovative relationships that will continue to set us apart from the competition. For instance, Skyhigh Security was just announced as the most recent addition to CrowdStrike’s XDR Alliance.
Extended detection and response (XDR) is a rapidly growing market, which is why we take great pride in partnering with leaders in this evolving space. Through our robust API integrations and open partner ecosystem approach, we enable technologies that facilitate faster innovation cycles and security-based business outcomes. As a result, we provide our customers comprehensive data protection for cross-domain visibility of threats across web, sanctioned cloud apps, email, and private apps, in a single interface that is easy to use and produces immediate value.
Additionally, we achieved Amazon Web Services (AWS) Security Competency status in the Infrastructure Security category. This designation recognizes Skyhigh Security’s deep technical expertise in AWS and proven success in helping customers adopt cloud-native security solutions that are both data-aware and simple to use.
Where do we go from here?
First and foremost, Skyhigh Security will remain committed to our 100% channel model.
As I mentioned above, we will also refrain from adding unnecessary complexity to our partner programs and stay the course. Just six months after the launch of the Skyhigh Security Altitude Partner Program, we’re already seeing strong indicators of success and plan to build on this success by keeping simplicity as a core tenet of our strategy. We’re also building out our partner enablement to drive more services through our partner network. Our next launch will include professional services training for deployment.
Our channel future looks bright at Skyhigh Security, and I can’t wait for another year of success!
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