Recently, Sanjay Poonen took the reins of Cohesity, a leader in cloud security and next-generation data management, after architecting multiple successful cloud partnerships at VMware. In this interview, he discusses how VARs can maximize their partnership with Cohesity.

Cohesity provides companies and cloud providers with ransomware protection and disaster-recovery tools. Threat Defense is a multilayered data security and cyber resiliency architecture that helps customers identify threats via artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), protect their data, and easily recover from sophisticated ransomware attacks.

Additionally, Cohesity FortKnox, a software as a service (SaaS) data isolation and recovery solution, can play a critical role in helping organizations minimize the impact of cyberattacks such as ransomware. It is designed to provide an additional layer of off-site protection while dramatically simplifying operations and lowering costs compared to magnetic tape and self-managed data vaults.

Recently, Cohesity was named a Leader in this year’s Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup and Recovery Software Solutions. The company is positioned as a Leader for the third consecutive time in its fourth inclusion in this report.

Much of Cohesity’s business is built by collaborating with many technology partners and resellers. To learn more about their channel partner ecosystem and how Cohesity works with different stakeholders, we spoke with Sanjay Poonen.

The Channelist: Good morning, Sanjay. Now that many companies are resuming “normal” operations, how do you see the market for cloud services, especially for data management and security?

Sanjay Poonen: I think the pandemic started to create an irreversible trend toward customers doing more with cloud systems, such as e-commerce. There were a lot more moves of customers and consumers looking for e-commerce solutions. As a result, I think there was an acceleration to the cloud, which has only continued.

I think people are more comfortable with the cloud as a destination for data and the cloud as a location for security.

Also, mostly in Europe, the key difference is there’s also a focus on sovereign clouds; European countries want to have data centers in their own locations.

In that hybrid cloud way, there’s a very big similarity between VMware and what we’re trying to do at Cohesity. We’re focused on the management and security of data, often sensitive data, where data is backed up, but then also protected from ransomware.

The Channelist: How do you work with partners such as cloud providers and hyperscalers?

Sanjay Poonen: Amazon is an investor in our company, so we lean in toward Amazon. We also have partnerships with Google and Microsoft, appropriately. Then we have a lot of on-premise partnerships: HP and Cisco are investors in our company. We also partner with NetApp and Dell, where customers ask us to.

We aim to be in that Switzerland type of position that takes care of people’s data. And right now, that’s a big opportunity because many of the legacy solutions in our space have run out of steam.

The Channelist: What do you think channel partners need to do right now to successfully sell your solutions?

Sanjay Poonen: The channel is just as important to us as it was in my 20 years at SAP and VMware. So, you start with those partners I just mentioned. Those are hardware vendors, very important to us because we run on their hardware, but we can significantly lower the cost for our customers.

It’s very important for us to have the right on-premise partners. And the cloud partners are very important ones: Amazon, Microsoft, Google, but Amazon’s number one in that space, so they are our preferred partner. We work closely with customers to ensure that we can manage in a hybrid cloud scenario. And then you get to the VARs.

The Channelist: You just mentioned VARs. The ones selling solutions primarily from one company, like Amazon, Google, or Microsoft — do you think they must diversify their offerings, such as working more across the board with different vendors?

Sanjay Poonen: Yes. I think the VARs have to pick their partners carefully, and they can’t partner with everybody. But I think the more they can strategically pick who they want to partner with, the more likely they will succeed, because they have to train and enable their people on the various solutions.

I view it as a tremendous opportunity for us to be one of the strategic solution providers VARs pick as a partner they can work with. I don’t think they will partner with everyone. They’re going to have to be a lot more selective because not everybody is going to be as important to them.


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