Cloud detection and response vendor Obsidian launches first channel program to support 100% channel commitment

Claudia Slane joins Obsidian as Director of Global Channel and Alliances, and has designed a program to support a select channel with high margins and enablement benefits.

Claudia Slane, Director of Global Channel and Alliances, Obsidian

Newport Beach CA-based Obsidian Security has launched their Magma Channel Program, the company’s first channel program. Claudia Slane,joined Obsidian earlier this year as Director of Global Channel and Alliances to design the new program and build it out. She comes to the company from Forescout, and had earlier had channel management roles at McAfee in its Intel Security days.

Obsidian makes a SaaS offering that provides security teams with consolidated visibility and monitoring to protect their SaaS applications from risks, threats, and breaches.

“Our goal at Obsidian is to make enterprise level SaaS applications available to everyone, and we are delivered as a SaaS solution,” said Suda Srinivasan, Vice President of Marketing at Obsidian. “Our DNA comes from the endpoint detection and response space, and Carbon Black and Cylance are in our founders’ DNA.”

The EDR vendors are logical Go-to-Market partners for Obsidian, and they just announced a new partnership with CrowdStrike which integrates their cloud detection and response solution with the Crowdstrike Falcon platform, and puts the Obsidian application in the CrowdStrike store.

They have a range of competitors, including pure play CASB vendors and ones like NetSkope who have expanded their platforms beyond that. They also compete with companies building their own SIEM based solutions, and sometimes UEBA vendors. It really depends on the use case.

Their customer sweet spot doesn’t fall into neat buckets, but they all involve companies with a heavy SaaS commitment.

Suda Srinivasan, Vice President of Marketing at Obsidian

“We have cloud-first healthcare tech and fintech companies built around technology, as well as some bigger companies using SaaS,” Srinivasan said. “We are looking for companies who are using SaaS and for whom security is a priority.”

The new channel program is not designed to create a channel, which Srinivasan said has always existed.

“The channel has been a critical part of our Go-to-Market pretty much from the get-go,” he stated, “We see it as a key way to our being successful. It includes VARs, MSSPs, and a lot of incident response firms. Claudia was brought on to build that channel out.”

This is Obsidian’s first formal channel program.

“At other companies, I had to enhance existing programs, or tear them apart,” Slane said. “This is the first time there was nothing in place prior.”

The plan out of the gate is to focus on a fairly small number of partners and work closely with them.

“That is what we will do to start, but we also have room to grow,” Slane said. “We are small and nimble and want to work with partners who are excited to sell us.  – We are looking to create a sustainable channel program where partners are excited to sell our products. I have built programs to do this in the past, and I know that partners want an easy simple repeatable program.”

They are starting with all partners in a single tier, although the plan is to build that out further as they expand the program and the channel.

“We are such an interesting space for partners,” Slane indicated. “They can be their customer’s trusted advisor and go back and ask what they are doing to protect their SaaS applications.”

Some of the enablement tools are in place today, while the plan is to build out the rest in the near future.

“We have launched a partner portal with a lot of training and marketing videos and documents,” Slane said. “We do not yet have a training platform for certifications, but we will get there. We are doing an upcoming webinar around our new CrowdStrike integration. We also have a partner newsletter that goes out quarterly, enough to keep them in touch, but not so much that it spams them.”

Obsidian is emphasizing that their benefits are high by industry standards.

“We have a strong opportunity, given that founders are huge channel proponents,” Slane indicated. “We have a huge margin of 35 points. We want our partners to get used to the product, so we provide NFR tenant licenses as well at no cost to them.”

Obsidian works directly with partners in North America, but plans to use distribution in EMEA.

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