Palo Alto Networks Tasks Global Partner Experience Leader With Helping Channel Monetize Public Cloud Opportunities

Palo Alto Networks has charged Lang Tibbils with educating existing channel partners around new use cases, monetization opportunities and partnerships with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based security vendor expanded Tibbils' responsibilities this month to include being the global leader for partner programs, according to Tibbils' LinkedIn page. Tibbils will continue to serve as Palo Alto Networks' head of global partner experience, a role he has held for the past two and a half years.

"We're starting to see more and more use cases for our products because of the capabilities that we built into our platform," Rene Bonvanie, Palo Alto Networks' chief marketing officer, told CRN. "The more we emphasize new capabilities and use cases, the more the programs that we then have to develop become important."   

[RELATED: CRN Exclusive: Palo Alto Networks Expands NextWave Partner Program With New Public Cloud Specialization]

Bonvanie declined to comment on what Tibbils' new responsibilities mean for Lyle Spears, who has served as Palo Alto Networks' global director of partner programs for the past two and a half years, according to LinkedIn.

Spears didn't respond to a LinkedIn message requesting comment, while an automatic reply to an email to Spears' work address indicated he'd be out of the office on PTO and told messengers to direct any inquiries to Tibbils. Tibbils didn't respond to requests for comment on this story.   

"Lang has been on the team for a long time," Bonvanie said. "He's been a fantastic guy to work on the programs with."

Tibbils will be responsible for ensuring Palo Alto Networks' existing channel community can keep pace with the vendor's new capabilities and use cases, Bonvanie said. The vendor recently launched a new public cloud specialization that includes a frictionless licensing model and new integrated deal registration system with Amazon Web Services, Dean Darwin, Palo Alto Networks' senior vice president of sales and channel strategy, told CRN last month.

Palo Alto Networks isn't too focused on recruiting new solution providers, Bonvanie said, since the company has a very well-functioning channel partner community. All of Palo Alto Networks' sales go through a channel partner. 

"Our partners need to be not only aligned with us," Bonvanie said, "they need to be enabled like us."  

Palo Alto Networks' channel partners should expect to see more of the company's technology delivered from or have major elements in the cloud, Bonvanie said. Tibbils will be positioned to help solution providers work through the implications of that, particularly as it relates to monetization, according to Bonvanie.  

Bonvanie said resellers will need to help customers with that move or with extending into the cloud. The company will devote increasing amounts of time going forward to playbooks that help the channel take advantage of opportunities stemming from new technology or market shifts.

"Keeping our channel partners in toe with us on this is becoming more and more important," Bonvanie said.

Enterprises can't abdicate security to the cloud provider even though consumption models for technology have changed, according to Rich Fennessy, CEO of Phoenix-based Kudelski Security. Channel partners therefore need to have the technology and an approach to managing their customers' cloud environments in a secure way, Fennessy said.

Kudelski has been focused on native monitoring of cloud security and continuously inspecting its customers' security posture in the cloud, according to Alton Kizziah, vice president of global managed services at Kudelski. The solution provider fully supports Palo Alto Networks' push to help partners become more secure and comfortable in the cloud, Kizziah said.  

"They've got a great portfolio of security solutions," Kizziah said. "If they can strengthen their enablement, that's important as their portfolio grows."   

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