InterviewsVendor Watch

Offering Cybersecurity Solutions With a People-Centric View

Emile Abou Saleh, the Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa at Proofpoint, speaks about the company, the products, and services it offers on the market and the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape in the region

Tell us about Proofpoint?
Proofpoint is a leading cybersecurity company that protects organizations’ greatest assets and biggest risks: their people. With an integrated suite of cloud-based solutions, Proofpoint helps companies around the world stop targeted threats, safeguard their data, and make their users more resilient against cyber attacks.

We were founded over 15 years ago, and our DNA is in email protection. We have evolved to a next-generation cybersecurity company offering a cloud-based platform to protect companies against the number one threat vector – email – as well as emerging vectors such as social media and cloud apps.

Our differentiator is that we look at cybersecurity with a people-centric view and focus on solutions that protect an organization’s most targeted individuals. Proofpoint’s solutions are used by more than 6,000 customers globally, including more than 50% of the global Fortune 1000, 21% of the FTSE 100 and seven of the top 10 European banks.

Which products and services do you offer on the market?
Proofpoint delivers the most effective cybersecurity tools available to protect people against the threats that target them, as well as the information they create and access. Our comprehensive suite of advanced solutions spans email, social media, web, network, and cloud—including Microsoft Office 365.

In the email channel, we help manage spam and bulk mail, neutralize targeted threats that use malicious attachments and URLs, stop fraudsters from spoofing domains and block socially engineered attacks such as business email compromise and credential phishing.

On social media, we protect brands and customers who trust them. We prevent account takeovers and block unauthorized content sent through any compromised accounts. We help organizations find impostor accounts and shut them down and empower their workers to share approved social media content safely and easily.

On mobile, we protect enterprises from apps and wireless networks that compromise sensitive data and put users at risk, as well as find rogue apps on major app stores that impersonate brand to defraud fans and customers.

We also help customers share large files securely; control sensitive files and content; and archive files for fast access, streamlined discovery, and easy compliance. To ensure that confidential information stays secure, we also help customers encrypt sensitive data and monitor it as it’s shared through email and social media.

Which markets in the EMEA region are key for Proofpoint?
Proofpoint recorded revenues of $717.0 million in 2018, a 38% growth over the previous year. Demand for cybersecurity solutions has never been higher and we are constantly gaining market share. We are committed to the Middle East region, which is why we have appointed a dedicated regional director for the Middle East and Africa this year and we are currently expanding our team and operation in the UAE. We also have operations across the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands and Scandinavia.

How is the cybersecurity space evolving in the region?
Cybercriminals are experts at gathering personal information to launch highly targeted and convincing attacks against individuals. Implementing ongoing and effective security awareness training is a necessary foundational pillar when building a strong culture of security. Educating employees about cybersecurity best practices is the best way to empower users to understand how to protect theirs and their employer’s data, making end-users a strong last line of defense against cyber attackers.     

What role does Proofpoint have to play in it?
Our annual Human Factor report found out that more than 99 percent of cyberattacks need humans to click and cybercriminals target people, rather than systems and infrastructure, to install malware, initiate fraudulent transactions, steal data.  Our aim is to educate users about cybersecurity best practices and empower them to understand how to protect their data, making them a strong last line of defense against cyber attackers.

With an integrated suite of cloud-based solutions, Proofpoint helps companies around the world stop targeted threats, safeguard their data, and make their users more resilient against cyber-attacks by providing our innovative solutions. Proofpoint provides unique visibility into most targeted employees—and they often aren’t the traditional VIPs, but rather very attacked people (VAPs). Built on the cloud and the world’s most advanced intelligence platform, our solutions stop 99% of attachment-based attacks. Every day, they detect and block threats and compliance risks in more than 600 million emails, more than seven million mobile apps and hundreds of thousands of social-media accounts.

What sort of channel partners do you work within the region?
Our current distributor partners include Shifra and Exclusive Networks and we have also recently announced our expanded partnership with Help AG in the Middle East.

Currently, we have identified 20 partners in EMEA that are on a fast-track acceleration through our partner program (14 Gold and 6 Platinum). There is a significant opportunity in EMEA for Proofpoint partners, and we are investing heavily in the region and adding resources to help grow the business in 2019 and beyond.

Do you run any channel partner programs in the region?
Proofpoint is committed to its channel strategy, especially as 100% of net new business in EMEA is indirect. Proofpoint operates a two-tier model with distribution partners who help lead the recruitment of new partners to add to our expanding ecosystem.

Our Partner Program recognizes partners based on a combination of value and volume. Partners begin as Silver Partners and can advance to Gold and Platinum status. Each tier is designed with real support, benefits, and perks to accelerate sales and drive growth.

Do you conduct certification programs for your partners?
Proofpoint offers web-based accreditation and instructor-led training certification courses for all our products and technologies. We offer instructor-led training certification and accreditation for engineers and administrators across our full suite of products. We also offer web-based courses with self-paced instructions on a full range of topics across our suite of products, available from anywhere, anytime.

What sort of tech support commitment do you have towards your partners and customers?
We have been present in the Middle East for years and have an established base of enterprise customers. This year we have also established on-ground operations in the market so we can accelerate our go-to-market strategy. We have already onboarded a team of experts on the ground and are looking to grow this expertise in 2020.

Our partners enjoy the support of dedicated senior Channel Account Managers and work with Proofpoint to establish business plans, and enjoy benefits such as marketing support, front-end deal registration, and rebates. They also receive face to face training on top of the online curriculum available through Proofpoint University.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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