Netskope triples Canadian data centre presence with new Montreal, Vancouver sites

Sanjay Beri, Netskope’s Canadian CEO, talks with ChannelBuzz about the company’s major new investment in the Canadian market.

Sanjay Beri, Netskope’s CEO

Security cloud provider Netskope has stepped up their Canadian data centre presence, adding new ones in Montreal and Vancouver to their existing facility in Toronto. It’s a move that the Santa Clara CA-based company sees as a logical one, given their strong connection to the Canadian market.

“I’m Canadian,” said Sanjay Beri, Netskope’s CEO, who is from Toronto and went to school at the University of Waterloo. “Our main investor is Canadian. Canada is a key market for us, including several of the big banks and the TSX and TMX. Expansion in Canada just made sense for us.”

Netskope started out as a CASB [Cloud Access Security Broker] providing security monitoring and response, but they have moved well beyond that, with the CASB being one component of a broad platform. Beri emphasized that even in the early days, that broader vision was always central.

“When we started Netskope in 2012,  the goal was to support enterprises as they transformed and put data in the cloud, and would rethink their network and security stack, and redefine their perimeter and data networking security,” Beri told ChannelBuzz. “The goal was never ‘hey, lets build a CASB.’ The goal of the company was always to build a security stack, to deliver a new security perimeter  to the customer that covers all of their internet and private cloud data, and assists with their digital transformation.”

Netskope NewEdge is the bottom layer of that stack and the network foundation for the Netskope platform. It combines the CASB with Secure Web Gateway, zero trust secure access and advanced machine learning for advanced threat protection.

“Close to a third of the Fortune 100 now run their traffic through Netskope,” Beri said, which is one reason for the company’s 80% YOY growth. “Most North American financials use us because we give them blazing performance and the ability to make sure their sensitive data does not land in the wrong place.”

The new data centres in Canada will ensure all Canadians get that performance, while also ensuring that their data remains in Canada.

“The two new data centres gives us the best presence of any provider in covering Canada coast to coast,” Beri said. “These are big investments which will ensure 15 ms latency to everyone in the country. The infrastructure isn’t cheap. We take space in the colo hotels and run them, but we use our own hardware and our own racks. We don’t use public cloud because of the impact on performance. All of our software also runs in memory so we can operate at high speed.”

Beri stressed that since networks get performance by sending each customer to the closest POP, that often means sending them to the US if the customer is outside the core central Canadian urban centres.

“Most companies send them to the U.S.,” Beri said. “But while we want to send people to a place close to them, we also want to make sure if you are in Canada you stay in Canada, and don’t go to the U.S. On the west coast, we can now send them to infrastructure very close to them, and in Canada – not to Seattle. So they now get performance and data residency.”

The large majority of successful Canadian IT companies do significantly less than 10% per cent of their business in Canada – an important metric given that the Canadian market is 10% the size of the U.S. Beri said that they are close to the 10% number, and that the Canadian market is very significant for them.

“Most of our R&D is done in California, but in Canada we have a significant infrastructure –  sales field people, systems engineers, professional services, and customer success in Canada,” he indicated. “We also make sure that we work with partners and go to market with partners, and Herjavec Group, Optiv, and Dell Canada are important for us in Canada.”

Netskope has a 100% channel model, something that Beri said is valuable in today’s pandemic environment.

“We are 100% devoted to the channel, while a lot of vendors are half channel and half direct,” he stressed. “Our investment in our VARs and SIs really shows in these times, because customers want to talk to people they know. The channel has a lot of trusted relationships, and we built on that as our core DNA.”

Beri also emphasized that the pandemic’s amplification of work from home environments really helps Netskope with its digital transformation story.

“When a company works remotely, they really are able to see what needs to digitally transform to a greater degree, so this has reinforced that value proposition,” he stated.