Channel partners are perfectly placed to help customers: Tenable’s Kartik Shahani

Kartik Shahani

“Channel partners are perfectly placed to help customers who might be struggling with a change in working practices,” says Kartik Shahani, Country Manager – Tenable India.

Today, channel partners are playing a definitive role in the cloud computing era amid the new challenges of the pandemic that has impacted and changed the face of business operations and working environments.

However, for channel-driven organisations including software and security vendors is it equally important to focus and invest in their engagements with channel partners. And enable channel partners to expand their technology capabilities in serving the changing needs of customers and evolving market challenges.

In this interview, Kartik Shahani, Country Manager – Tenable India talks to TechHerald.in about the company’s channel strategy and customers in the Indian market. He also discusses Tenable’s channel program, engagements with MSSPs in expanding the reach of solutions and products and the role of channel partners and more.

Edited excerpts…

Q1. How is Tenable positioning itself against the competition as well as from technology per se in the Indian security market?
Kartik Sahani:
Building on our deep technology expertise as a pioneer in the vulnerability assessment and management market, we provide customers broad visibility across the modern attack surface and deep insights to help security teams, executives and boards of directors prioritize and measure their cyber exposure.

As organisations in India embrace digital transformation, an asset is no longer just a laptop or server. It’s now a complex mix of digital compute platforms and assets which represent the modern attack surface, where the assets themselves and their associated vulnerabilities are constantly expanding, contracting and evolving – like a living organism.

Tenable delivers the most comprehensive risk-based vulnerability management solution available to help our customers prioritize their remediation efforts to focus on the vulnerabilities and assets that matter most across IT and OT environments.

We help customers make the most efficient use of their limited security resources by making the biggest impact on risk with the least amount of effort. This comprehensive visibility is communicated using metrics that align with the business’ risks, so are understood by the board, with the ability to compare their security posture against internal departments and peers.

Q2. What’s the broad base of customers for Tenable?
Kartik Sahani
: On a global scale, Tenable customers include more than 50 per cent of the Fortune 500, more than 30 per cent of the Global 2000 and large government agencies. Organisations in the government, public sector, telecommunications, financial, education, manufacturing, retail and healthcare, just to name a few, rely on Tenable’s Cyber Exposure platform to holistically assess, manage and measure cyber risk across the modern attack surface.

It uniquely provides visibility into cyber risk across IT, Cloud, IoT and OT environments, and the depth of analytics to measure and communicate cyber risk in business terms to make better strategic decisions.

Q3. Tenable has two unique offerings Nessus and deepwatch, so is it available to customers in India? Can you share some perspective on this?
Kartik Sahani:
The strategic partnership combines Tenable’s industry-leading vulnerability management solutions with deepwatch’s innovative cloud SecOps platform and managed services to help joint customers see their systems, predict what matters and act to reduce risk, especially as they prioritize cloud computing.

Integrated into deepwatch’s cloud SecOps platform, Tenable.io and Tenable.sc, both powered by Nesses technology, provide a risk-based view of customers’ entire attack surface—from IT to cloud to containers—enabling deepwatch to quickly identify, investigate and prioritize vulnerabilities. deepwatch leverages Tenable’s Vulnerability Priority Ratings (VPR) to determine the remediation priority of each flaw based on the risk it poses to the business. From there, customers are provided actionable remediation recommendations to ensure the most business-critical flaws are addressed first. These services are not available in India as deepwatch does not operate in the country.

Q4. What’s Tenable’s go-to-market channel strategy in 2021 in India?
Kartik Shahani
: Tenable has always been committed to a channel-driven business model in Asia Pacific including India. This support provides partners with regular business planning sessions, enablement, training certifications and dedicated marketing support generating valuable leads for their sales teams.

On the technology front, Tenable has bolstered its MSSP offering designed to provide customers the flexibility of choosing strategic, cost-effective solutions and custom services to help them to manage, measure and reduce their cyber risk. We introduced deal protection on subscription renewals at a time when many vendors are taking these direct.

We also announced Frictionless Assessment, a revolutionary new approach to vulnerability management for cloud assets. Frictionless Assessment instantly and continuously assesses cloud environments without organisations having to manually scan or deploy an agent. As COVID-19 has vastly accelerated the adoption of cloud technologies, this capability will be key for organisations to maintain the security of their cloud assets.

New Tenable Lumin innovations enable organisations to predict which vulnerabilities pose the greatest risk so they can prioritise effectively. The new capabilities will help CISOs effectively manage, measure and reduce cyber risk. We also released Tenable.ot 3.9, which now integrates with Nessus Professional to help organisations secure both IT and operational technology (OT) devices in converged environments. For the first time, customers can use a single solution — Tenable.ot — for unmatched visibility and control to secure IT assets alongside OT systems and reduce their cyber risk in converged, modern environments.

Q5. Tenable had updated its channel program Tenable Assure last year, so how you observe its impact on the partner ecosystem?
Kartik Shahani:
The global shift to remote working has driven organisations of all sizes to accelerate their migration to the cloud and adoption of new technologies, including IoT, mobile and DevOps. As their attack surface expands, these organisations are increasingly turning to Tenable and our partners to help them see, predict and act to address their cyber exposure.

Quick response times to customers is highly valued by our partners. To this end, our recent updates to Tenable’s partner program, Tenable Assure which includes an all-new certification program, expanded service choices and a revamped partner portal, couldn’t be more timely. These additions will enable partners to quickly address customer needs and simplify workflows.

Q6. How is Tenable leveraging cloud service providers and managed security services providers (MSSP) to broaden its market reach?
Kartik Shahani: As organisations handle distributed work environments and juggle between new technologies and legacy IT with limited resources, many are increasingly turning to MSSPs to cope with the dynamic shift in the digital environment.

We recently announced an enhanced Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) portal to supercharge partners’ cloud-based vulnerability management offerings with Tenable.io within minutes. In doing so, organisations can rest assured that vulnerabilities and misconfigurations are identified at cloud speed. The new features within the Tenable.io MSSP portal further support and solidify Tenable’s steadfast commitment to our partners in India and the APAC region.

Q7. In your observation, how is the role of the channel partners changing or evolved with the advent of cloud-based software and IT services ecosystem?
Kartik Shahani
: Channel partners are perfectly placed to help customers who might be struggling with a change in working practices, such as a remote workforce, reduced budgets, or even a reduced IT/Security team. While increased revenue is tempting, channel partners should be thinking long term rather than immediate gratification. Providing solid counsel today will build trust that will deliver in the future.

It is crucial for channel partners to frame cybersecurity solutions within the context of specific business needs in order to truly help organisations tackle the damaging effects of cyberattacks. In turn, channel partners can use this time to not only demonstrate the positive impact of cybersecurity on business performance but also better showcase their value in providing solutions and deliver on benefits beyond the initial purchase.

Q8. In a broader context, what sort of security solutions, products or services does the market needs or are likely to be in demand in 2021?
Kartik Shahani: As we progress further in 2021, we’ll see a stronger need by CISOs to understand vulnerabilities in the context of business risk, and use that data to prioritise efforts. We believe that there will be a shift in India’s cybersecurity industry towards a risk-based approach to vulnerability management which uses machine learning analytics to correlate vulnerability severity, threat actor activity and asset criticality to identify and manage issues posing the greatest business risk.

This innovative approach will help Indian organisations focus on the vulnerabilities that matter most and address true business risk instead of focusing on flaws that have a low likelihood of being exploited. We encourage the channel to recognise this shift to risk-based vulnerability management solutions.

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