Anti-phishing vendor SlashNext hires Patrick Harr as CEO to drive next stage of growth

SlashNext’s new CEO talks with ChannelBuzz about what he sees as SlashNext’s differentiation in the phishing space, and how he intends to drive their expansion so that they become the authority in the space.

Patrick Harr, SlashNext’s new CEO

Campbell CA-based anti-phishing vendor SlashNext has announced the appointment of Patrick Harr as CEO. Company founder and former CEO Atif Mushtaq moves to the CTO role.

SlashNext is a pure-play anti-phishing vendor, founded in 2014 by Mushtaq, who previously was at Fireeye for years and was one of the key architects of their anti-malware system.

“SlashNext was formed when malware began to plateau and the big threat increase became phishing,” Harr said. “85% of phishing attacks are outside of core email, so you have had an increase in vectors as well as their payloads.” Those vectors beyond email, in areas like SMS, social media, and advertising, are a key focus for SlashNext.

“Our cloud service SEER Threat Detection engine, a virtual browser technology, is like having 10,000 data scientists looking on what’s going on in the wild, to do zero hour detection of phishing in real time,” Harr stated. “We have the highest detection rate – 99.95% — with minimal false positives. We also provide real time end-to-end against these different types of phishing payloads. Our focus on phishing, the end-to-end protection across vectors, the best detection rate, and the fewest false positives are what set us apart.”

Before Harr arrived, SlashNext also made fundamental changes to its product portfolio and the way in which it delivers its technology. They originally sold hardware-based appliances, that sat at different points of access in a company’s network, crawled the Internet and grabbed phishing URLs. In January, they completely changed their model, dumping the appliances in favour of a cloud-based one in which their solutions, mobile anti-phishing endpoint protection and  a phishing IR product, are sold as cloud applications.

The change in delivery model was accompanied by two Go-to-Market transitions. One was a greater reliance on strategic vendor partnerships as a route to market. This included both enhanced and net-new relationships with mobile device management systems, SIEMs, SOARs and Single Sign-on vendors, including Palo Alto Networks, Anomali, ThreatConnect, Splunk and Okta. The other was an enhanced use of the solution provider channel. SlashNext had sold through partners before in a hybrid model, but the channel’s role was deepened to a partner-first model.

These changes, Harr said, have created an inflection point where it made sense to bring him in to drive the next stage of growth,

“With the move from an appliance model to a cloud service model, and working with our different types of partners, we really are well-positioned to scale our growth,” he said. “My background provides me with an understanding of how to scale in this way.”

Harr was most recently CEO at Panzura, which pivoted from a cloud storage gateway provider into a cloud file system vendor, and which he led to a sale in May to a venture firm.

“I also have a long background in security,” he said. “I started my career back at Novell competing against Microsoft in the Port 80 space, and was then at BlueCoat, which was then CacheFlow, in that same space.” He also has much experience in cloud space, including being VP and GM of the Cloud Business Unit at HPE between 2010 and 2015. He had also previously been CEO at two startups, Nirvanix and PreventSys, which were sold to Oracle and McAfee respectively.

Going forward, Harr said that further development of strategic partnerships is a top priority,

“A large focal point is developing those partnerships,” he said. “They are important in developing our business on the carrier side. This includes vendors like Samsung and Apple, and other endpoint suites.”

While the decision to move to a channel-first model was made before his arrival, Harr said that he will continue to drive this.

“We are very much a partner-first model, and I take that very seriously,” he said. “At Panzura, we went from 10% channel to almost 100% That how we will scale here.

“I’m also a big fan of consumerization, and showing immediate value,” Harr added. “We have had feedback from customers that we are simpler than our competitors because we are a cloud service. We need to leverage this further, and make it so simple that people can go to our site with credit card and start using it.”

At Panzura, Harr broadened out the solution set with a second complementary offering to their flagship product, but he said that’s not necessary at SlashNext.

“I came here because we are exclusively focused on phishing and we want to continue that, by making it easier to consume as a cloud service,” he said. “We will continue to further our advancements in phishing, to protect users from phishing without compromising privacy. To do that, we will add additional value- add services around our phishing cloud, but I don’t see the need to create complementary products. We want to maintain that purity. If we try and do more than that, it can dilute what we are trying to do. We can be that phishing authority, providing full end-to-end protection and remediation.”