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CyCognito's New Global Channel Chief Gunning for RiskIQ, Expanse, Other Competitors

Lori Cornmesser wants to increase CyCognito's channel business by more than 30%.

Edward Gately

April 13, 2021

6 Min Read
Business Competition
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Watch out RiskIQ and Expanse, CyCognito is coming after you with Lori Cornmesser as its first global channel chief.

This week, Cornmesser began her role as vice president of worldwide channel sales. As global channel chief, she’ll lead CyCognito’s global channel strategy and execution.

CyCognito partners with VARs, system integrators and MSSPs.

lori-cornmesser-infoblox-2018.jpg

Infoblox’s Lori Cornmesser

Cornmesser most recently was Infoblox‘s vice president of worldwide channel and alliance sales. There, she was responsible for indirect sales, partner performance, channel reach, revenue attainment and partner profitability.

Before Infoblox, she held similar roles at Ixia, Juniper Networks and Riverstone Networks.

Rob Gurzeev is CyCognito’s CEO and co-founder.

“Lori’s expertise in developing impactful channel partner relationships and programs is critical for CyCognito’s continued growth and success,” he said. “We are a channel-first organization, and our channel partners are critical to scaling our revenue engine. Lori has a proven ability and track record building partnerships that accelerate revenue growth both for vendors and channel partners. We are excited to bring Lori on board to take our channel operations to the next level.”

In a Q&A with Channel Futures, Cornmesser talks about her plans as CyCognito’s global channel chief.

Channel Futures: Why did you want to take this role with CyCognito? Why CyCognito and why now?

Lori Cornmesser: When I look at the next journey and a vendor, I evaluate, are they a leader in their space or are they doing something that’s innovative and disruptive? And are they run by good humans? And CyCognito hit all those boxes. They are doing something really interesting in the cybersecurity space. And they are kind of early in their evolution. So there’s a lot of opportunity for growth. And they had a real desire to have a dependence on channel for their growth strategies. So that was just absolutely something that I wanted to be part of.

Here’s our list of channel people on the move in March.

CF: Who are CyCognito’s biggest competitors, and how will you help give CyCognito and its partners a competitive advantage?

LC: There are a lot of players in this landscape, but the two biggest competitors are going to be RiskIQ and Expanse (now part of Palo Alto Networks). As I understand the technology, CyCognito has a lot of differentiation in the way they go about it. And there’s nobody that can give the advantage over the attackers that CyCognito can. They have core capabilities in identifying, prioritizing and eliminating most of the critical risk across the entire attack surface. That’s something that a lot of our competitors can’t do. So it’s about now taking those things and translating those into key differentiations for our partners. And that’s about teaching them the pitch of CyCognito and how to bring that into the solutions that they’re bringing to the market.

CF: How will your previous experience with Infoblox, Ixia and Juniper Networks come into play in this new role?

LC: This is starting to build a program, building the go-to-market and putting the right partners in the right places and doing the right thing. So everything that I have done before in terms of developing the go-to-market, developing a team and building from the ground up the right recipe for success has led me here. So I feel really confident in my ability to create impact for the company, both short- and long-term.

CF: What’s your take on CyCognito’s channel strategy and partner program? Are you going to be making changes?

LC: I always view it as getting the pieces of the puzzle developed. And then it’s about …

… what picture are we really trying to create. So I think CyCognito has a lot of pieces, and now it’s just about putting those pieces together and creating strength. I’m definitely focused on going further and wider with the current partners that they have in place. They’ve done a good job of identifying those partners. And I think we can be doing more and greater things there.

But there are also some new ways that we’re going to be looking at in the security space in terms of new opportunities to partners. And there’s certainly an opportunity to fine tune our partner program and our engagement with partners in the field by way of partner portal, incentives and different things. So we’ll be looking at ways to increase our value proposition to and with partners.

CF: As global channel chief, are you going to be building a new partner program or expanding the existing partner program?

LC: We’re going to be looking at really expanding that for sure.

CF: What sort of feedback are you receiving from CyCognito partners? What are they hoping you’ll bring to CyCognito’s channel leadership?

LC: They love the technology. They love the fact that the product works as advertised. It’s a very simple and an easy sell for partners, and especially the partners that are deep in the security play. So the idea now is to kind of simplify our models, making it easier to do proofs of concept, bringing more enablement training, making that easier for others to understand the value proposition, to understand the pitches. So being able to create new assets and tools to help them sell, and become stronger and more competent on the technology.

CF: What are the biggest issues facing CyCognito and its partners, and what will be your role in it in addressing those?

LC: CyCognito is still young and they still have a lot of growth. The biggest thing we can do is translate our value proposition into meaningful pieces for partners. That means making sure that partners understand where we fit in the solutions that they’re bringing, and allowing them to add their secret sauce around the solution as well. Can they add support and services around that? Services are obviously where partners make a lot of their revenue and create stickiness in the equation.

We’re going to be looking at different ways that we can start to help partners, and also add additional things around what they can be doing, such as remediation and API integrations. All of those kinds of services are really interesting for partners. And they can absolutely provide additional value-add around the services that we offer around this technology.

CF: What’s at the top of your to-do list?

LC: Right now, it is just listening and learning a lot, and then being able to come out and say, “OK, here are the three things that will create impact.” I’m always focused on how we can really create lift in the equation, how we can get partners generating new logos for us and developing strong pipeline for us.

CF: What do you hope to have accomplished a year from now?

LC: We have a really healthy part of the business with channel. Right now we are at 63% channel and I’d like to see us at 95% channel. I’d like to see partners stepping into more partner-oriented opportunities where we’re creating lift. I’d like to see the brand in the market. We’re creating a really disruptive force in the market. So those are the things that I’m looking forward to over the next year.

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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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