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Appgate EMEA channel boss plans to build the business

Secure access specialist’s recently appointed EMEA channel boss sets out ambitions to increase the firm’s indirect operation

The road ahead for Fiona Doak, the director of channel sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Appgate, is to build up the firm’s channel and to make it clear that it is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with those that choose to work with the security player.

Doak joined the firm earlier this summer, coming to the EMEA channel position after a stint in a similar role at Duo Security and with a career spanning 25 years behind her.

The secure access specialist already has a channel-friendly approach and a formal programme in the US, but it is looking to take things up a notch across EMEA.

“I like to come in, build it and identify the right channel strategy,” said Doak. “We are a channel-first strategy company, make no mistake about that. There is no direct sales approach here. We need to find a good quantity or quality of partners that will go with us on that journey.”

She intends to look at the channel programme that is established in the US with a view to introducing a similar partner strategy across EMEA.

“We have to have that shoulder-to-shoulder approach, so the idea is to build out a pertinent channel strategy with the right partners,” she said. “We are about identifying the right partners and distributors to work with, and building a strategy that extends to their business and drives their margin opportunity as much as our own.”

“We are a channel-first strategy company, make no mistake about that. There is no direct sales approach here”
Fiona Doak, Appgate

That effort has already started with the signing of Kite Distribution as a partner just a few weeks after Doak joined in June.

Kite has been tasked with recruiting more partners and giving an access point for others that want to get involved with Appgate.

When it comes to who the firm wants to work with, the doors are being opened to a wide spectrum of potential partners. Doak said there was room for all types of partners across its ecosystem, ranging from systems integrators to managed service providers and consultants.

“It’s about there being a mutual desire to be successful...I would rather we had a much broader, more comprehensive programme that rewards everybody, each partner, to try to develop that opportunity,” she said.

“I have always believed that your channel strategy needs to be three things: it needs to be transparent, it needs to be profitable and it needs to drive a mutual appetite for success,” she added.

The emphasis will be on quality, not quantity, and keeping life uncomplicated for those that do sign up. Doak pointed out that there was an incentive for those that do get involved because the current market conditions favour vendors and partners that can talk about zero trust and protecting data at the edge.

“We are not a brand new vendor – we’ve been around for a long time and what we do is extremely significant,” she said.

“The whole software defined perimeter [SDP] piece or zero-trust network access is all coming much more to the fore now. There will be a much more flexible approach to working now, and with that comes the challenge of how [to] secure all of that and how [to] prove that the right person is accessing that piece of information via their device.”

The expectation is that SDP and zero trust will continue to see strong sales in the years ahead and that the market is set for further growth.

One of the more immediate tasks for the channel is to help customers that were forced into making decisions because of lockdowns with a more coherent data access strategy.

“They’ve got the opportunity to kind of sit back and go, ‘right, this new way of working was on the way anyway, but now we’ve got an opportunity to properly address it’. The user is the perimeter, because that’s where the communication starts,” she said.

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