'7 Minutes' With Armorblox SVP of Sales and Channel Brian Harmon

Communications have become the top attack vector for cybersecurity breaches.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

June 19, 2019

5 Min Read

Armorblox, which earlier this year raised $16.5 million in funding and came out of stealth mode, is targeting VARs, value-added distributors (VADs) and MSSPs with its new partner program.

The tiered Armorblox Partner Program is led by Brian Harmon, formerly with Palo Alto Networks and Trend Micro, as senior vice president of sales and channel. The company’s natural language understanding (NLU) platform is used to stop cyberbreaches.


Armorblox’s Brian Harmon

Communications have become the top attack vector for cybersecurity breaches, with email as the most common point of entry, Armorblox said. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Center (IC3) 2018 Internet Crime Report, business enterprise compromise (BEC) continues to grow as the most costly category of internet fraud with estimated losses reaching $1.2 billion.

Enterprises use Armorblox to automatically create and adapt policies, continuously measure risk exposure and reduce alert fatigue.

7 Minutes” is a feature where we ask channel executives from startups – or companies that may be new to the Channel Partners audience – a series of quick questions about their businesses and channel programs.**

“By applying NLU to security, Armorblox is bringing organizations a deeper level of understanding of the textual data shared across different communications platforms,” said Tim McSherry, EverSec Group‘s managing partner. “We are looking forward to offering this to our clients as a new way to identify threats, lowering their risk of email attacks and confidential data loss.”

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Harmon talks about what his company has to offer partners, and sizes up the competition.

Channel Partners: Tell us what customers love about your product or service. What’s the secret selling sauce?

Brian Harmon: Armorblox brings a new signal to security based on the human-to-human communications that occur across an organization both internally and externally — bringing textual understanding to cybersecurity. Most current security solutions rely on analysis of metadata and pattern matching; Armorblox adds NLU to the equation, using state-of-the art machine learning techniques, including natural language processing (NLP) and deep learning. So it goes much deeper in analyzing textual data, and catches what other solutions typically miss. It can determine not just the who and the how, but through contextual awareness and analysis of the content, the what, why and with whom. This provides a deeper understanding of threats and risks that often go undetected.

CP: Describe your channel program — metal levels, heavy on certifications, open or selective, unique features? Do you work with masters and/or distributors?

BH: The partner program provides two levels for the partner community based on partner commitment, volume and support. The entry point for a partner is a preferred partner — which provides free certification and training, support for sales and marketing in the region, and offers a competitive discount structure aligned with market potential and results in a given time period. The second level – premium partner – offers additional discount structures and programs to reward those partners more aggressively who build a solid portfolio of customers with Armorblox. In all scenarios, Armorblox protects any partner through a deal registration program. This program is for VARs and VADs. No work with masters.

Armorblox also provides a program for MSSPs. Selected partners will be able to deploy the Armorblox SaaS offering to multiple clients through a single cluster management portal. This will significantly simplify the management of real-time incident workflows for an MSSP across multiple instance of Armorblox.

CP: Quick-hit answers: Percentage of sales through the channel, number of partners, average margin. Go.

BH: One-hundred percent channel-driven and supported sales organization, Twelve partners in the first full quarter of general availability of product; on average we expect our partners to enjoy a 20-22% margin.

CP: Who are your main competitors, and what makes your offering better?

BH: We complement traditional email security vendors, like Proofpoint and Mimecast. For data loss prevention (DLP), it’s vendors like Symantec and Digital Guardian. Our differentiation is our ability to fully analyze textual communications using NLU, plus, our approach as a platform adds …

… modules for specific methods of communication. For example, we are not just an email security provider;  we have a broader solution and depth of protection across multiple channels, including but not limited to: email (anti-phishing, spearphishing,) BEC, DLP, accidental data disclosure, spoofing, document exfiltration, messenger platforms, [and so on].

CP: How do you think your technology portfolio will change in the next three years?

BH: As we learn about additional threat vectors evolving in the communications of corporate environments, we will develop solutions to address these threats and continue to build a robust platform. We also will build integrations and add components for additional protection.

CP: How do you expect your channel strategy to evolve over that time frame?

BH: I fully expect the channel to grow with us and enjoy the benefits of our program while providing their customer base and new prospects with innovation, and protection that keeps pace with the ever-evolving threat landscape. Our charter members, being the early adopters, will benefit from our commitment to them and will become our partner advisers assisting in the focus and direction of our solutions.

CP: What didn’t we ask that partners should know?

BH: I view our partners as the sensing mechanism for our company, and rely on their feedback and input for market conditions and customer-driven solution guidance. I have a tremendous respect and understanding of the value our partners can bring to us, and look forward to building yet another world-class partner program.

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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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