Secureworks continues transition from MSSP to security vendor by implementing partner-first strategy

Partner First launches across North America at the beginning of December, with the rest of the world to follow in 2023

Chris Bell,  vice president of strategy, corporate development and strategic alliances at SecureWorks

Secureworks, a long-time leader in the MSSP space which more recently has pivoted into an MDR and XDR vendor, has announced that as of December 1, 2022, all new Secureworks Taegis business in North America will be sold in collaboration with partners. The move represents both a critical step in the evolution of the Secureworks Global Partner Program, and in Secureworks’ transition from an MSSP to a security vendor of MDR and XDR products through their Taegis cloud native platform. The plan is to roll out the Partner First strategy globally in early 2023, after it debuts in North America in December.

“A majority of the industry prefers to buy through the channel,” said Chris Bell,  vice president of strategy, corporate development and strategic alliances at SecureWorks. “So partner first is what the customer wants. Partners also have a natural partner first mindset. Put them together and there is a natural alignment  for our next stage of growth.”

In Q2 FY23, over 75% of new Taegis business was conducted through the channel in conjunction with partners.

“Our legacy business was as an MSSP,” Bell said. “With the new Taegis platform, we have transformed into a cybersolution security company focused on XDR and MDR. We have been growing our partner business since we launched that platform. Previous to that, whether the business was channel or not would be driven by the customer and the path they wanted to take.”

Taegis is a cloud-native, holistic security solution with strong threat detection and rapid response capabilities. With its open approach, Taegis integrates feeds from third party tools that are normalized and analyzed, along with Secureworks own proprietary data and threat intelligence, in real time, to help identify and resolve threats.

Secureworks shift to channel-first was not driven by weakness in sales.

“Much of our growth was already driven by the channel, and Taegis has 100% YOY growth,” Bell indicated. “As we grow Taegis, more and more of our business went through the channel, so it made sense to shift to this model.”

The Secureworks Partner First Program, which was rolled out in May 2020, was designed at that time as a relatively simple single-tier program, and that is pretty much how it remains today.

“Partners prefer simple by design, so we built a channel strategy and program that reflects this,” Bell said. “They appreciate that they don’t have to go through pages of documents to find out how they will be incented. Even though there are no tiers, there are still natural incentives for them to grow their mutual customer base. Our top performers are also part of our advisory board.”

The core tenet of the Global Partner Program is profitability.

“Profitability is a key area,” Bell emphasized. “We have made investments in channel account managers and partner success managers, which will make it easier to do business with Secureworks, and we offer industry- leading margins.”

The margin is the same regardless if the partner or Secureworks finds the deal.

“We have kept it simple,” Bell said. “We want to give the same regardless of who brought in the deal. Ultimately, we believe it will provide partners with industry leading margins.”