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Barracuda CEO: We don’t exist without partners

The recently installed boss at the security vendor has restated the importance of the channel to the firm’s prospects of success

Hatem Naguib has been CEO of security player Barracuda for four months, but having been with the vendor for five years he took up the hot seat with a clear understanding of the firm’s position in the market and the importance of the channel to the business.

The past couple of years, against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, have seen security rise to the top of most customer concerns, and the firm is closing out a busy year with expectations that the momentum will continue into 2022.

“What we’ve seen through the last several years, and then accelerated by Covid, is that our customers have become significantly more digitised. Small customers now have to figure out how to deliver food and set up a website, and large customers now have all their employees working from different parts of the world. That has accelerated the importance of understanding all of the components required to protect the company and to protect the businesses we serve,” said Naguib.

“We’re finding that every conversation partners have with their customers has a security aspect to it,” he added. “[For] every solution we roll out, we have to think about security components upfront and make sure that’s part and parcel of the solution we deliver.

“There’s an enormous consciousness about how sophisticated the attacks have become, and how they have taken advantage of that digitisation to look for the weakest link in an already complicated infrastructure story, to gain access and to either deliver ransomware or to steal IP [intellectual property], or to do all kinds of dangerous things that affect any company trying to do business in today’s modern world,” he said.

On the channel front, Barracuda has a CEO who understands their value and the way the market has evolved, with a growing emphasis on managed services.

“We have evolved over the last several years, from exclusively working with partners who were value-added resellers and now the value-added resellers have evolved so that many of them are now managed service providers [MSPs]. We have grown our reach by working with our partner ecosystem to deliver our products either directly to customers or through managed services that they deliver to protect their customers big and small,” said Naguib.

“We don’t exist without our partners. We’ve worked very closely [with partners] to just develop go-to-market strategies [and] some of the best ideas we’ve had and some of the innovation that we’ve developed, we’ve worked with and talked to our partners about first. There’s a very strong and deep relationship in our partner ecosystem,” he added.

“The managed service providers have really been able to step up and help customers implement solutions, but also implement security components, and then managed security, XDR, EDR. These managed firewall capabilities [are] where the partners have been most successful, and the MSP business is part of the probably the fastest-growing go-to-market we have,” he said.

Naguib said he had stepped into the CEO role at a time when Barracuda was continuing to evolve and react to a world that was moving more towards software as a service (SaaS).

“If you looked at us 10 years ago, we were predominately selling appliances to customers with small IT organisations that had their own datacentres. Today, almost all of our business is cloud-native and delivered for protecting Office 365 and other dominant SaaS applications, so we’ve tuned ourselves to that as customers evolve,” he said.

“I want us to be the leading security provider for those customers and for the mid-market, and feel very strongly that with partnerships that we’ve got with the channel, and the work we’ve done with MSPs, it’s a greenfield opportunity for us to continue to grow with them and help them through their transformation to the same kind of cloud SaaS-based models that their customers are driving too,” he added.

Chris Ross, senior vice-president of international sales at Barracuda, said there were many reasons to be upbeat about the prospects for 2022 in the UK.

“As things started to get a little bit more normal, the acceleration that we saw in new customer meetings with our partners, things really felt very bullish. As we look ahead, we don’t see that changing – our partners are feeling optimistic as well,” he said.


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