AiThority Interview with Marcus Conroy, VP of Sales at VMRay
Hi Marcus, please tell us about your current role and how you arrived at VMRay
My current role is VP of Sales and Field Marketing where I am responsible for leading strategic sales initiatives and building out VMRay’s Americas sales operations. Prior to joining VMRay, I was the Vice President of Sales for the Americas for Cofense, one of the market’s leading providers of phishing prevention and detection solutions. I also spent nine years at Mimecast as Vice President of US Central and West Sales, where I helped build and execute the company’s go-to-market strategy which culminated in a successful IPO in 2015.
As a marketing expert, what unique milestones did you cross in your career so far? How are current times challenging for a marketer than what was it during the pre-COVID-19 days?
I’ve been working in the cybersecurity market for the last 14-plus years with a deep focus in the email security market. In my previous roles at Cofense and Mimecast, I saw firsthand how the security market was changing from an over-reliance on email security gateways as the primary point of protection and how unknown threats and zero day vulnerabilities are fundamentally changing the way security teams are responding to an evolving threat landscape. One of the milestones I achieved during this time was pivoting toward sharing unique and valuable information on new threats to prospects and customers. Building this credibility is a key initial step in building trust.
COVID has presented no shortage of challenges to all companies but it’s been especially challenging for security teams who now on top of everything else, must worry about a far more expansive attack surface with so many workers logging in from home. From the perspective of a marketer, we’ve adapted by working to offer more value in our initial conversations, from sharing data on new threats to enabling our sales team to share relevant industry trends. We’ve focused our energies on making these meetings to be as impactful as possible as it is becoming harder to secure the undivided attention of a prospect. Fortunately, our Labs team is able to offer up unique and compelling intelligence on new and unknown malware strains which at the end of the day is the best showcase for the value delivered by the VMRay Platform.
What is VMRay and what are your top services / solutions?
VMRay was founded in 2013 by two academic researchers, Carsten Willems and Ralf Hund who published a paper as PhD candidates at Ruhr University in Bochum German that addressed the shortcomings of existing malware sandbox technologies and became the foundation of the company’s first commercial product, VMRay Analyzer, the market’s most advanced dynamic malware analysis solution. From this foundation, VMRay has built out a full suite of interconnected products including VMRay Detector, that accelerates threat detection and our newest product, VMRay Email Threat Defender which automates the scanning of inbound emails by analyzing suspicious attachments and embedded links. Collectively, these products make up the VMRay Platform which represents radical departure from traditional malware sandbox analysis methods.
What is your go-to-market strategy for 2021 in the post-pandemic era?
In February 2020, VMRay announced the launch of its first Global Channel Partner Program and within its first year, we’ve signed on more than 35 partners across the EMEA, APAC and North America regions. While the uncertainty of the pandemic has stifled spending in many areas, CISOs are continuing to spend on solutions that help them protect their remote workforce and we are likewise continuing to invest in our own channel program as we see this is as the primary driver of sales and anticipate that the majority of our business will be led by the channel by the end of 2021.
Could you tell us more about your recent alliance with Ingram Micro. How would this partnership jointly benefit your customers?
Ingram Micro brings so much to the table as a partner to VMRay. While we have established a solid track record in the European market, we are just now building our reputation in the crowded and noisy North American market so forging a strategic partnership with the largest distributor provides us with some immediate credibility. Having Ingram in our corner will make it significantly easier to scale up VARs, MSPs and other partners in their expansive ecosystem as they already have an established and proven foundation in place that we are already taking advantage of as we execute against our go to market strategy.
Popular trend: Can automated malware platforms fully take care of today’s dynamic threat environment? What kind of threats are we speaking of here?
I would be wary of anyone who says a single platform can address all of the threats they might encounter. An automated malware platform should instead be part of a Defense in Depth approach in which a carefully layered series of technologies and controls to provide a more redundant and resilient security posture. The most dangerous threats of course are the ones you don’t even know exist and all too often, these are the one that are most often missed by tools that are only able to stop what they’ve seen before. This is why we are seeing so much interest in approaches that leverage dynamic behavioral analysis to quickly identify and isolate advanced and completely novel malware threats.
Why should CIOs and CISOs look to modernize their malware detection environment?
Too often, by the time a novel strain of malware has been identified by security researchers, it’s already been out in the wild for some period of time. Just as with a biological virus, the sooner one can identify the root cause of an issue the faster and more effective a response will be. And as we are seeing with current novel Coronavirus, the longer a contagion is allowed to spread, the more likely it will mutate and become resistant to whatever preventative measures you might have in place. The labs team at VMRay recently published some fascinating research that tracks how certain malware families have evolved over the span of several years, showing just how fast new variants are being introduced and how they have successfully adapted to evade detection.
A piece of advice to every CIO looking to adopt a cybersecurity tool like VMRay in 2021
As the age old proverb goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Busy security teams are overwhelmed with noisy alerts and as a result, aren’t necessarily looking to add new tools to the mix that just add more complexity to the process. That said, most of the CIOs and CISOs we speak with are definitely interested in adopting solutions that can deliver immediate value by helping them get more out of the tools and data they already have on hand.
What is your advice to female IT / data science professionals in today’s times:
My piece of advice would probably be the same as it would be to any IT professional: figure out how to work smarter, not harder and no matter how busy you might be, build time into your calendar every day to keep developing new skills. As it relates specifically to the realm of cybersecurity, I would highly recommend becoming a member of the SANS Institute whose training and certification programs are taught by some of the most experienced practitioners in the industry and offer many of their resources free of charge. For women who are either already in or aspire to be in the IT industry, there are also some great networking groups such as Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) that can connect
Tag a person from the industry whose answers you would like to see here:
Donald Scott, Head of Category & Vendor Management at Ingram Micro.
Thank you, Marcus! That was fun and we hope to see you back on AiThority.com soon.
Marcus Conroy is a VP of Sales at VMRay
VMRay is focused on a single mission: to help enterprises protect themselves against the growing global malware threat. The company’s automated malware analysis and detection solutions help enterprises around the world minimize business risk, protect their valuable data and safeguard their brand.
VMRay’s founders, Dr. Carsten Willems and Dr. Ralf Hund, were early pioneers in malware sandboxing, developing breakthrough technologies that continue to lead the industry. They founded VMRay to transform their research into practical solutions for making the online world a safer place.