IronNet building select channel for crowdsourced network traffic analysis solution

Garrett Jones, most recently with ForcePoint, has joined IronNet as their global channel chief, and he is building a channel program to roll out early in 2020.

Garrett Jones, Vice President of Global Channels, IronNet Security

IronNet Cybersecurity, which makes a network traffic analysis solution based upon shared user collective defense, is building out its channel. The company recently named Garrett Jones as their new Vice President of Global Channels, and  charged him with developing the company’s partnering strategy. He is working on a channel program to launch early in 2020. And he has pretty much got the design principles down, including an emphasis on select partners in the MDR [managed detection and response] space.

Jones, best known in the channel for his eight years at Symantec, including a stint as Vice President, Global Channel Strategy & Operations in 2013-2014. He came to IronNet from ForcePoint, where he managed North America Mid-Market, Global SMB and North American Large Enterprise Inside sales. He also views IronNet as having a fundamentally different kind of security offering.

IronNet was founded in 2014 by retired four-star general Keith Alexander, who had been director of the National Security Agency, chief of the Central Security Service, and commander of the United States Cyber Command.

“Our vision is collective defense,’ Jones said. “Entities had suffered from a broad lack of visibility in that they didn’t know if other entities were facing the same type of attack as themselves. They wouldn’t know until the dust had settled, by which time it was too late to take an offensive attack. We provide a way of working together that provides this visibility.”

IronNet views all network traffic and run analytics over it using their machine learning and behavioral analytics. That’s not particularly unique, but they do bring their own secret sauce to the mix.

“What differentiates us is that through our collective defense, anyone in the solution can share their traffic,” Jones indicated. “In effect, it’s a form of crowdsourced support where anyone else who has seen it can share it. We believe it will change the way that companies, sectors, even nations, defend themselves.”

While the idea of running analytics of network traffic has been around for a while, Jones said that other parts of the technology have improved.

“Historically, the big challenge has been all the false positives,” he stated. “The false positive rate now has come down a lot.”

The competition is from smaller network companies who have gotten into security.

“It’s a lot like EDR, where a new generation of players came in and defined the market before the bigger ones got involved,” Jones noted.

IronNet’s sweet spot extends beyond very large companies.

“Customers who realize it’s a matter of when, not if, they will be breached, are the early adopters,” Jones said. “We are taking the solution and driving it to scale. So it’s something smaller enterprises and upper midmarket can consume. That’s a strong market, as many larger enterprises have their own SOC.”

While Jones has been brought in to develop the partner strategy, he emphasized that this is not about transitioning to working with partners from a direct model, but simply working with partners more effectively.

“We are redefining the partnering strategy, but we have always had a partner-centric approach,” he said. “The issue is how do we go deeper, bring them under the tent, and expand into new spaces and to new partner types like MDRs.”

Today the channel is a mix of systems integrators and consultants, and MSSPs and MDR specialists. The latter two groups are where Jones said IronNet is really focused for expansion. Jones also emphasized that while IronNet is looking for more partners, they are being very selective about it.

“This won’t be a program where we will work with everyone,” he said. “It’s focused around very specific capabilities and skillsets – particularly partners looking to add MDR, or who have it, but who aren’t leveraging collective defense.”

While partner pricing and enablement are supported informally, a partner program does not exist yet.

“We are looking to launch it in the early part of next year, and we are defining the metrics of the partner-driven pipeline,” Jones indicated.

“One of my guiding principles is simplicity in the program,” he added. “I believe we have an opportunity to really focus on simplicity, transparency and consistency. The goal is to go deeper with fewer partners, not partners who transact once in a blue moon.”

Jones indicated that a core enablement tool at IronNet will be partner access to its people.

“General Alexander pulled some of the best and brightest from the security agencies, so we have some of the best hunters in the world,” he said. “We want to use partners to extend their capabilities, and we will give partners access to these folks.

“We want the community to see IronNet standing out for knowing how to treat partners,” Jones concluded. “We want them in the tent, helping with direction, giving feedback, We will treat our partners like our employees with respect to training and onboarding.”

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