Proficio: Rise of Breaches, Attacks Brings More Cybersecurity Investment

Proficio last year opened its third security operations center (SOC), in Barcelona, Spain.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

February 6, 2018

8 Min Read
Cybersecurity Shield


Edward Gately

As cybercriminals continue to intensify their efforts, there are more opportunities for cybersecurity companies to grow and prosper. Managed security services provider (MSSP) Proficio closed out a record-breaking 2017, and expects to double revenue and market share this year.

Proficio reached a pivotal turning point in its expansion and growth in 2017. It further grew its global footprint when it opened its third security operations center (SOC) in Barcelona, Spain, and expanded its operations in Asia Pacific and in Atlanta, Georgia.


Proficio’s John Humphreys

The company added to its growing portfolio of services to include incident response, expanded vertical offerings and managed services for Splunk. Managed services for both Splunk Enterprise and Splunk Enterprise Security were launched, offering managed or co-managed service models.

Proficio now has experienced 28 consecutive quarters of recurring revenue growth, fueled by an increase in client base, including organizations in legal, online retail and finance sectors. The industry additions helped diversify Proficio’s growing portfolio and increased the company’s vertical capabilities.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, John Humphreys, Proficio’s senior vice president of business development and alliances, talks about the increasing threat organizations face, and how his company is helping partners to capitalize on this growing need for security.

Channel Partners: What is fueling your company’s rapid growth?

John Humphreys: Firstly, it’s the need in the market. The pace of security breaches and ransomware, and all the demands associated with compliance that have continued to grow place a lot of pressure on enterprises, from medium-size companies up to the very largest, so the challenge is, “How do they meet those goals?” What we’re finding is increasing openness to work with solution providers like ourselves who essentially offload a lot of the work around analyzing coming threats, 24/7 monitoring, providing guided advice and incident-response management solutions. So it’s driven by need, and it’s also driven by our growing capacity to provide that need, which is around investments we’ve made — and also, we’re building our sales team and our channel partner team to meet that need.

CP: With cyberattacks at an all-time high last year and this year expected to be even worse, how is your company and the industry in general responding to all of that?

JH: It sparks a lot of interest from organizations [that] maybe have in the past underinvested in this area. … A piece of this puzzle is the continuing and worsening shortage of cybersecurity professionals in the market. So even though universities have put a lot of emphasis on trying to train people, the gap is getting worse and … the reality is, the fewer people you have available to address this internally, the more difficult it is to ensure your organization is properly prepared for a potential attack. We are in the business of building a team and having highly qualified cybersecurity experts so we can help people with …

… that need, and we provide that obviously as a fully cloud-based service so we can co-manage people’s existing SIEMs and provide augmented support to the whole security-operations functions. It’s a perfect storm. While it’s certainly not a good storm for people who are being attacked, from an industry standpoint, the increasing threat level, the lack of resources to fulfill this function internally, and just the complexity of doing it, it’s not really just having people internally to meet the problem, the real challenge is having the right expertise, having visibility of what’s going on. We’re lucky we have a large base of customers, so if we see an issue happening, say in Asia, we can be already prepared to address that in the United States and Europe, and vice versa.

CP: Who are your and your partners’ end customers, and is that profile changing, expanding, etc.?

JH: We address what we describe as a medium-to large-size enterprise market and so our customer profile typically is organizations [that] have some reasonable amount of infrastructure, whether that’s on premises in their own data center, or in the cloud, or some combination; it doesn’t matter to us because we meet both of those sorts of infrastructure challenges. But we have been successful with a range of different industry types. We have a strong base of health-care customers in the United States, a strong base of financial-services customers, we have manufacturing customers and retailers, just a whole variety of industries that share the common goal of trying to ensure that they have a robust cybersecurity program. If they are governed by compliance requirements … it’s that they can properly meet those requirements, and that requires them to have a proactive program, to monitor security events and retain security events, and analyze them and be able to respond to them. So the midsize and large enterprise is where we have our sweet spot and across any industry that really needs a strong security solution.

CP: Has the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) created new opportunities for Proficio and its partners?

JH: GDPR is a huge requirement in Europe and it also totally covers anybody who collects personal information about customers who are located in the EU, so certainly companies around the world might be in that situation. We have a strong program to address that and make sure that everything we do internally meets that requirement. We have a security operations center in Europe, based in Barcelona, so we’re able to retain data entirely in Europe for customers who want that. And we work twofold to make sure we’re fully compliant to GDPR in terms of how we retain data and how we manage all those properties to make sure that confidentiality is not breached — and we meet the requirements of GDPR ourselves. We have to meet it and we really have to help our customers fill in the pieces that we can around security monitoring to meet that. There are multiple facets to this, and it’s kicking in in May. It has significant ramifications, especially European companies where the fines are 4 percent of global revenue, so that’s a bit stick.

CP: What’s the latest with Proficio’s partner program? Any new or emerging opportunities?

JH: We set out when we relaunched the program to make the interaction with our partners as simple as possible, [and] make us easy to do business with. We did that in terms of simplifying the rules and hierarchies, and not having the really complex processes that some organizations have. We also set out to make it as profitable for …

… our partners as possible. So we’ve kept those ingredients that people really like. What we’ve been doing in terms of investing is continuing to really understand [which] enablement tools our partners need. We have an online portal where we can deliver all sorts of content … and we continue to make that better so that our partners have the tools that they need.

The other thing is we’ve added a new service around Splunk. For people who have Splunk and want to continue to use that for multiple things, including security, we will manage their Splunk instances, we’ll provide content to help make Splunk systems better at identifying security threats, and then we’ll monitor the events on a 24/7 basis so that we can identify what’s important and help the customer respond accordingly. And as you know, Splunk is a huge organization that’s growing very rapidly, so for channel partners – many of our existing partners had a Splunk line of business – we’ve made it even easier for them to deliver security solutions for those who have Splunk.

CP: How would you describe your company’s channel strategy? Is it evolving along with changes in your company and the industry?

JH: Channel relationships are a key part of our growth strategy. We are very open and keen to working with partners because they bring us a lot of additional value. People, whether it’s security or any solution, have lots of different ways in which they want to consume these capabilities. So as a result, we’re working with … security networking VARs, cybersecurity consultants, SIs, telecom companies, [and] people who provide managed services or managed-infrastructure capabilities along those lines. All those groups in different ways add tremendous value to their customers and they’re very often interested in how can they add another line of service or augment their existing services around security — because security is such a key agenda item for many organizations. So we’re working with different sets of organizations to help them meet their [customers’] requirements, which is great for us because [that means] more opportunities to work with different sorts of customers along the way.

CP: Looking ahead, is 2018 going to be a significant year for your company and your partners in terms of helping to protect your customers from cyberattacks?

JH: We expect 2018 to be a strong growth year for us. We’ve made a lot of investments, both in technical and operations teams, and also our sales teams and partner programs to essentially meet demand, and we’ve also expanded our presence in 2017 and will continue to do that in 2018 geographically. We started out in the United States, but today we have a lot of customers in the United States, but also South America, in Europe; we’ve had some really good wins in the EU and we expect that to continue. We’ve had some strong wins in Asia and we’re growing our customer base in Australia, and we’re starting to get some traction in New Zealand and in other parts of Asia. We are very excited to face the challenges and help people in 2018.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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