Illumio Hires Veteran Of Tanium, Palo Alto Networks As Channel Chief

Veteran channel chief Todd Palmer has made the jump to cybersecurity vendor Illumio from Tanium, amid what he described as a massive growth opportunity for partners in zero-trust security.

Palmer exclusively told CRN that he has joined Illumio as its senior vice president of global partner sales and alliances, filling the channel chief role that had been vacant since May.

In an interview, Palmer said that Illumio’s differentiated technology and strong commitment to partners helped to inspire the move to become channel chief at the company.

For a role that entails building out a partner ecosystem within the cybersecurity space, “you want to make sure that you are [providing] innovative technologies at the forefront of these big movements,” Palmer said. “The value that partners bring to their customers is [advising them] when there’s something transformative coming in the market.”

Ultimately, Illumio has a “super-compelling value proposition” to bring to resellers and service providers, across both professional and managed services, he said.

Illumio’s zero-trust segmentation technology aims to isolate and contain an attacker following a breach, preventing the threat actor from getting any further even if they’re able to gain initial access to a device or system. The company has expanded from offering segmentation for on-premises data centers to also covering cloud environments and, most recently, adding segmentation for endpoints just over a year ago.

Illumio most recently received a valuation of $2.75 billion in 2021, in connection with its $225 million Series F funding round. The round, led by private equity firm Thoma Bravo, brought Illumio to more than $550 million raised in total since its launch in 2013.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company disclosed bookings of more than $100 million for its fourth fiscal quarter, ended Jan. 31.

At Illumio — recognized with a 5-star rating in CRN’s Partner Program Guide for 2023 — “everyone here is committed to growing this business through partners,” Palmer said. While the percentage of Illumio’s revenue that goes through the channel was not available, Palmer told CRN that “you’re probably going to see a dramatic shift in that” toward a higher percentage through partners.

Channel Vet

Palmer was most recently senior vice president of global partner sales at Tanium, where he’d worked since April 2020. Tanium announced it has filled the role with the hire of Tony Beller, formerly of Tibco, ServiceNow and Salesforce.

Earlier in his career, Palmer was vice president of worldwide channels at Cohesity from 2017 to 2019. Before that, he served as vice president of Americas channel sales at Palo Alto Networks from 2014 to 2017.

Other past roles for Palmer included serving as vice president of Americas channels at NetApp from 2007 to 2013.

At cybersecurity powerhouse Optiv, an Illumio partner and No. 24 on CRN’s Solution Provider 500, Palmer is already known to be a strong supporter of the channel, said Alan Mayer, senior vice president of partners, alliances and ecosystems at Denver-based Optiv.

“I have found Todd, in his previous role, to be a great partner — accountable, engaged. We’ve had a great relationship,” Mayer said, adding that Tanium is also “a great partner of ours, and we really value that partnership.”

Zero-Trust Journey

Zero-trust security is an increasingly critical focus area for Optiv, given that “remote work in some form is here to stay,” he said. “Implementing that holistic zero-trust strategy and architecture is instrumental in ensuring that workers are accessing services and resources in a secure manner.”

Zero trust, however, is a “journey — it’s not a project,” Mayer said. 

“Zero trust requires a comprehensive approach, and people are understanding that all of their technology should be a part of that overarching zero trust program,” he told CRN. “And it’s partners like Illumio that enable us to serve our clients and drive more successful outcomes.”

‘100-Percent Committed’

Palmer said Illumio has a strong offering for the channel whether a partner is focused on resale, services, or both.

For reseller partners, “we have the whole formula — innovative product and unbelievable profitability,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Palmer said that a key focus will be around enabling partners to add or expand services around Illumio’s segmentation technology.

“Services are vitally important to our partners and to our customers,” he said. “We need to help our partners [gain] the skills and capabilities to build profitable services practices — so they can drive those outcomes that our customers are looking for — or build complementary managed services that they can offer to their customers as well.”

The bottom line is that “[CEO] Andrew [Rubin] and everybody on this leadership team is 100-percent committed to helping build through partners, which is really exciting to see,” he said. “That’s really rare.”

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